New Delhi: The Comptroller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) has raised serious questions over the quality of jets flown by the pilots training to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the CGDA audit found that the jets assembled in India had been fitted with inferior engines and 'category B' or 'second-hand components'.

In 2004, India bought 123 Hawk jets (106 for IAF and 17 for Navy) from British company BAES for $2 billion. Twenty eight aircraft were to be bought in flyaway condition and ninety-five jets were to be assembled by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with engines made by it on the basis of technology transfer.

The CGDA audit report, however, said that the aircraft assembled in India have problems. 

“In our findings, a linkage between commission paid and compromises made on the quality of engines, which has affected the quality of aircraft, has been clearly brought out,” the audit report said.

The report added that inferior engines were used and also “a large number of second-hand components and parts have been fitted in the aircraft”.

The CGDA also estimated that commission worth Rs 500 crore was paid to middlemen. Investigations are still on in this case.

A senior defence ministry official, however, has termed CGDA's claims as “incorrect”.

“Assumptions that the engine is of inferior quality are incorrect. The HAL manufactured engines post transfer of technology from the original equipment manufacturer Rolls Royce,” a senior defence ministry official, who chose not to be named, told the daily.

An IAF officer said every component was put to "rigorous test" and there was no question of using "sub-standard equipment".

HAL and IAF have not responded so far.

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