The serviceability rate of the Indian Air Force's Sukhoi Su-30 twin-engine multi-role fighter aircraft and helicopter fleet has risen to 60 per cent, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said Thursday.
Parrikar was quoted as saying by The Indian Express, while speaking at an aerospace and defence seminar at Mahatma Mandir that along with the Sukhois, the serviceability rates of the helicopter fleet with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force have also risen following investment of Rs 400 crore in setting up after-sales-service units for both Su-30 and the helicopters.
“When I became defense minister, I realized that the Su-30 (Sukois), the main fighter of Indian Air Force has a serviceability of 46 per cent." he said.
“Further, the helicopter fleet of the Indian Army and Air Force supplied through HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) had a serviceability of somewhere around 50 per cent,” he added.
It is too low because the minimum international standard one expects is about 70-75 per cent. Sometimes you can even achieve 80 per cent-plus, Parrikar said.
Because making one fighter available more saves you the cost of buying a new fighter (aircraft). You have 300 fighters and only 150 or 140 are capable of taking on the task, I think you are not good. We decided to improve this,” Parrikar told to an audience that consisted of officials from the Ministry of Defence and firms operating in the defence sector.
“The biggest problem I faced was after sales service. Defence PSUs considered after sales service as an expense and not an investment.
Virtually convincing them in setting up a after-sales-service unit at various Army locations, took us almost a year. Finally when the board agrees and we set up the unit.
“Today I am happy to say that Su-30 has already achieved around 60 per cent of serviceability and the helicopter fleet is more than 65 per cent. That is an achievement simply by investing around Rs 400 crore,” he said.
Speaking about 'Dhanush' artillery gun, Parrikar said: “Another self-propelled gun — 155mm — is in the final stage of being ordered. This is a joint venture between Larsen & Tuboro and South Korea’s Samsung. It has more than 50 per cent of the components which are Made in India. The first slot, probably, will be ordered during the current financial year. This is one of the Make in India project”.
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