India’s only aircraft carrier capable aircraft, the MiG-29K suffers from an unsatisfactory serviceability rate ranging from 15.93 per cent to 37.63 per cent, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) whose report was tabled in the Indian parliament today.
According to the CAG report cited by Tribune India, the aircraft was riddled with problems relating to airframe, its RD MK-33 engine and also the fly-by-wire system. “Aircraft is being technically accepted despite having discrepancies/anomalies,” the report said.
Forty-five aircraft and associated equipment were ordered at a cost of $2.2 billion (nearly 14,000 crore) in two tranches in 2004 and 2010.
Serviceability of MiG29K is low, ranging from 15.93 per cent to 37.63 per cent, and that of MiG-29KUB (the trainer version), ranging from 21.30 per cent to 47.14 per cent. “It is clear that the serviceability of MiG-29K was unsatisfactory,” the report said.
The CAG said the life of the aircraft was 6,000 hours or 25 years and with issues facing the plane, the operational life of the aircraft already delivered would be reduced.
As of September 2014, 65 engines had been accepted, it said. “Since induction in February 2010, 40 engines (62 per cent) had been withdrawn from service/rejected due to design-related defects/deficiencies,” the report said.
The agency also questioned the pace of construction of INS Vikrant saying it was at least five years behind schedule. The target delivery date of the ship is December 2018, but is expected to be in 2023 on realistic terms.
The twin-engined MiG-29K, imported from Russia, is the primary combat platform on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and is slated to be on board the under-construction carrier INS Vikrant.