'DRDO projects, including LCA, behind schedule'
New Delhi: Four major DRDO projects including Light Combat Aircraft, Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWC) and Kaveri engine are running behind schedule resulting in increase in their development cost, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
"LCA Phase II, Naval LCA, AEW and C and Kaveri are the projects sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security for which probable dates of completion (PDC) have been extended and costs have been enhanced," Defence Minister A K Antony said in written reply.
"The PDC and cost of these projects have been revised due to various reasons like change in scope, ab-initio development of technologies and denial of technologies by the advanced countries, extended trials and increase in cost of materials and manpower," he said.
The LCA project has been going on for the last over 25 years and the air rorce and the navy are waiting for their delivery.
Similarly, the Kaveri engine project for LCA is still in trial phases and DRDO has been importing US-made engines for the aircraft's trials.
To another query, Antony said, "In view of the sensitive defence installations in south Mumbai and associated security concerns, a Maharashtra government proposal for setting up a helipad at Nariman Point has been agreed to."
He also said as per unauthenticated data, Pakistan and China spent around 3.1 and 1.4 per cent of their GDP respectively in 2010 in the defence sector.
The Minister said though the government keeps an eye on the developments in neighbouring countries which may have impact on national security, it is difficult to compare defence spending due to lack of non-availability of accurate and latest-published data.
On clearances for oil and gas blocks, Antony said, "46 blocks--38 on eastern and eight on western sea board-- have not been cleared from defence security angle on account of overlapping with DRDO missile ranges in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, air force firing range and naval exercise area."