India’s mainstream naval fighter jet plane MiG-29K faces operational deficiencies due to defects in engines, airframe and fly-by-wire system leading to very low availability, top government auditor has said even as it slammed the delay in construction of the indigenous aircraft carrier.
The aircraft were being technically accepted despite having discrepancies/anomalies, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in its report tabled in Parliament today.
“The MiG-29K, which is a carrier-borne multi-role aircraft and the mainstay of integral fleet air defence, is riddled with problems relating to airframe, RD MK-33 engine and fly-by-wire system,” it said.
Serviceability of the warplanes was low, ranging from 15.93 per cent to 37.63 per cent and that of MiG-29KUB ranging from 21.30 per cent to 47.14 per cent.
Serviceability refers to the total number aircraft available for operation at a time from the overall capacity.
The CAG said the augmentation of infrastructure at Visakhapatnam was still at the Detailed Project Report stage even six years after approval in December 2009.
The Full Mission Simulator was assessed to be unsuitable for Carrier Qualification (CQ) simulator training for pilots, as the visuals did not support the profile, it said.
The auditor noted that the service life of the aircraft is 6000 hours or 25 years (whichever is earlier) and with issues facing the MiG-29K/KUB, the operational life of the aircraft already delivered would be reduced.
“Further, the deliveries of the aircraft under the Option Clause scheduled between 2012 and 2016 are much ahead of the delivery schedule of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) in 2023, as projected by Cochin Shipyard Limited,” the report said.
As per the Option Clause contract (March 2010), in case the customer’s representatives have any observations during the aircraft technical acceptance, these shall be eliminated by the supplier’s representative before the Technical Acceptance Report (TAR) is signed.
“As of November 2015, ten aircraft had been technically accepted. Audit observed discrepancies/anomalies on the first MiG-29K/KUB of the Main Contract technically accepted in February 2010, continued to persist on six aircraft acquired under the Option Clause,” it said.
It said that even as the IAC continues to be constructed in Cochin Shipyard Limited and the fact that INS Viraat is expected to be decommissioned in 2016-17, Indian Navy’s operational readiness and maritime capability will be affected due to the availability of only one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya till delivery of the IAC. PTI SAP SC 07261851