New Delhi: The Defence Ministry was on Thursday pulled up by a Parliamentary panel for "inordinate delay" in the induction of indigenous basic trainer aircraft and its failure to foresee implication of this on defence preparedness.
In its report on the training of pilots in IAF, the Public Accounts Committee said it is "distressed on the inordinate delay in induction of trainer aircraft, both imported as well as indigenously manufactured, and the inability of the Defence Ministry to foresee implication of such delay on our defence preparedness."
"Worse, the inordinate delay in indigenisation of trainer aircraft after approval of design and development in June 2011 led to cost escalation which cannot be condoned or overlooked considering the dire need of such aircraft in the IAF," it said.
The PAC asked the ministry to show a "sense of urgency and finalise the proposal for production of 106 indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at the earliest."
The ministry said the HAL has submitted a proposal for production of 06 indigenous Basic Trainer Aircraft at the cost of Rs 568.08 crore in June 2011 but it requested for revised cost of Rs 659.46 crore.
"Considering the high estimated cost as worked out on the basis of the detailed project report submitted by the HAL, the proposal was being reviewed by the Ministry," it told the PAC.
The PAC said it was perturbed on the silence of the Ministry over the finalisation of contract for the Intermediate Jet Trainer and asked it to firm up a contract with HAL in this regard with stipulated timelines.