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India’s IL-78 Fleet Rusting Away Hangar-Less Since 2003, Says Auditor

Defence News: Mismanagement related to IL-78 refueling aircraft has come to light recently, Six air tankers had been procured by IAF and they have not had their share of a shady parking. As a result, the aircraft condition is deteriorating. This is not desirable especially when India uses aircraft well beyond their service life and expects high serviceability rates.

Defence news: IL76

Sputnik Excerpt: India’s top auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General, has revealed that the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) fleet of six IL-78 refueling aircraft has been rusting in the open because of a lack of hangars. There is only one hangar for the six planes, the CAG noted.

The CAG report tabled in Parliament said the IAF is missing pivotal infrastructure and dedicated refueling corridor for its air-to-air refueling IL-78s. CAG also points out the aircraft require 11480 feet to 15022 feet-long runway for the carrying of optimum quantity of fuel but of the 10 airfields, only one is 10500 feet long. “Six IL-78 aircraft were procured during 2003-04, but only one hangar is available. Due to non-availability of hangers, the costly air assets remained in the open which adversely affected their serviceability and life,” CAG report tabled in the Parliament reads.

“Aircraft hangars are required for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance activity and runway for taking off and landing. Limited availability of these will adversely impact maintenance and operational efficiency, respectively. However, creating full-fledged maintenance and operational infrastructure at multiple locations is resource intensive and therefore, air forces all over the world create these facilities at restricted number of locations for optimal operations,” Group Captain Kishore Kumar Khera, a serving fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force with 31 years of operational service, told Sputnik.

As country did not create required support facility for recce systems along the China border, air-to-air refueling by utilizing IL-78 refueler aircraft became essential for recce missions in these areas.

Excerpt ends. Read full article at Sputnik news.

It goes without saying that enough is not being done to prevent the tax rupee from going down the drain. This oversight needs immediate attention and there should be a complete audit and failures should be dealt with a strong hand. IAF should assess which assets apart from the fleet tankers are in a similar situation and do a proactive remedy instead of waiting on another CAG report.

Written by Naroop Desai

Naroop Desai loves India and loves to write on defence matters. He has blogged on different subjects at different time. Now he is here with us, sharing his insights on strategy and peace. He is a PG in mass communications.

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