New Delhi: State-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's (HAL) failure to provide fighter aircraft on time due to delays was discussed by the top commanders of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the recently held two-day senior officers’ conference in the capital.

In the conference attended by Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, seven operational commanders and the HAL brass, presentations were made by officials on the performance of the PSU in which it was pointed out how several of its projects were delayed, sources told MyNation.
The projects that missed the deadline included the production of Sukhoi-30 planes which has been delayed by three years, production of Jaguar Darin IIi planes which has been delayed by six years, upgrade of the Mirage-2000 which has been delayed by two years. The Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) project has also been delayed by five years. 

These aircraft projects are critical for arresting the downfall in the squadron strength of the Air Force which has only 31 squadrons of fighter aircraft against a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons. 

The IAF is the biggest customer of the HAL as the PSU is involved in almost every IAF project, including the production, maintenance and overhaul of planes of all types. 

Owing to the slow pace of work and lack of expertise in developing its knowledge base to manufacture advanced fighters, India has had to look outside to acquire modern jets such as the Rafale.

Given the delay in the Tejas project, the Air Force has to buy over 80 additional Sukhois in different tranches over the years. 

However, the HAL earned the praise of the Air Force for its role in maintaining high operational levels during the mega exercise Gaganshakti held a few months ago.
The HAL ably supported almost the entire fleet to maintain operational availability at over 70% in all types of fighter fleet.