Antony impatient to see completion of LCA project

Minister

Terming time slippages as a "real problem" for the defence forces, Defence Minister A K Antony today pulled up the DRDO for "delays in delivery" of military projects and said he was "impatient" to see completion of LCA project.

"I am happy for your achievements of DRDO but not fully happy. Delay in delivery is a real problem... Try to speed up your process and reduce time for research, development and production. Delays should be avoided," he said while addressing an international seminar here.

The seminar 'Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment' was held as part of the biennial Aero India show.

On the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' project, he said the DRDO was getting ready for the second Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of the indigenous fighter but "I am impatient for the Final Operational Clearance (FOC)."

The LCA project has been delayed by more than 20 years.

After the FOC for the aircraft, the aircraft would be ready to be deployed for operational deployment in the IAF.

The Defence Minister also expressed concern over the delay in the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) programme being developed by HAL, saying the IAF has "problems" with it.

"That (IJT) project is delayed delayed delayed. You must focus on that project and by next conference that should be ready," he said.

Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne also expressed his unhappiness over the delays in development projects.

"So far our modernisation plans have been restricted due to slippages in time lines of many of our projects," he said.

The IAF chief also suggested imposition of "financial penalties in case of poor performance of the work centre, either by withholding further payments or recovery of money already spent."

To avoid problems in development projects in future, Browne suggested there should be "dual assessment" and the production and design agencies should be one. In the LCA project, the design agency is Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of DRDO while HAL is the production agency.

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