HAL blames BAE Systems for Hawk delays - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Tuesday 1 September 2009

HAL blames BAE Systems for Hawk delays

Photo 1 (courtesy Ajai Shukla): The Hawk assembly line in HAL Bangalore

Photo 2 (courtesy Ajai Shukla): BAE insiders have been hinting to the Indian press that the Hawk production delays are being caused partly by a primitive and cluttered assembly line in HAL Bangalore.

Photo 2 (courtesy BAE Systems): Six IAF Hawks on the Hawk assembly line in the UK. This needs to be compared with HAL's Hawk assembly line in the photos above

By Ajai Shukla
HAL, Bangalore
Business Standard, 2nd Sept 09

The Indian Air Force is desperately short of aircraft for training its flight cadets. With the entire fleet of basic trainers --- the HPT-32 Deepak --- grounded after a series of crashes, advanced training is suffering equally due to unexpected delays in the manufacture of the Hawk advanced jet trainer (AJT) in India.

Now HAL, under sharp attack for the delays, has unequivocally blamed BAE Systems, UK for failing to properly honour its contract to transfer technology, design drawings, tools, manufacturing jigs and components essential for smoothly rolling out the Hawk in India.

BAE Systems, UK had signed a $1.2 billion contract with India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2004 to supply 24 ready-built Hawk-132 AJTs (already delivered) and transfer the technology for building another 42 in HAL, Bangalore.

According to the contracted schedule, the first 15 Hawks should have already been built in Bangalore. Instead, only 5 have been completed.

HAL’s Chairman, Ashok Nayak, has listed out for Business Standard a string of lapses by BAE Systems, which, he alleges, is behind this delay. “This is the first time that BAE Systems has transferred technology for building the Hawk-132 AJT abroad. Some of the jigs (frames on which aircraft parts are assembled) and tooling that they supplied HAL relate to earlier models of the Hawk, which has gone through several versions over the years.”

BAE Systems last transferred Hawk technology abroad more than a decade ago, when Australia built 21 Hawk-127 trainers --- an earlier version of the Hawk --- in the late 1990s.

Mr Nayak also says that when HAL pointed out the discrepancy to the BAE Systems team stationed at the Hawk assembly line, “they had to refer back to the UK for everything. They weren’t able to address these issues themselves.”

While most issues have now been resolved, there are still some continuing delays. Hawk windscreens, manufactured by Indian vendors must be sent to BAE Systems, UK for certifying their strength and clarity. This procedure, says HAL, is taking unduly long.

Guy Douglas, BAE Systems’ spokesperson in India, strongly refutes HAL’s version. In an emailed response, he states “BAE Systems does not accept that the programme delays being experienced by HAL, on their contract with the Government of India, are materially down to BAE Systems. BAE Systems has completed all hardware deliveries to support the licence-build programme. BAE Systems has repeatedly made clear that it stands ready to assist HAL, should they require it. In this respect, a number of proposals have been made by BAE Systems to HAL and we await their response.”

Ashok Nayak denies that HAL has had any difficulties in assimilating the technology needed for manufacturing the Hawk in India.

The HAL Chairman states, “We have assembled the Jaguar and other aircraft. That is not the problem. Why were the jigs and fixtures that [BAE Systems] supplied incorrect? We have their Technical Assistance Team’s signatures on each and every one of them. I can quote you minimum 300 such examples, and some of them took weeks to sort out.”

Nor is the MoD impressed with BAE Systems’ execution of the Hawk contract, signalling its disapproval earlier this year by floating a fresh global inquiry for India’s requirement of 57 additional trainers. That was an unambiguous rap on the knuckles for BAE Systems; with an assembly line already producing AJTs in Bangalore, the additional requirement would normally have been added on to the ongoing licensed production.

Now, however, BAE Systems is back in talks with South Block over the order for 57 more Hawks.


  1. If the problem is what HAL describes it to be, then stop complaining and go sue BAE.

  2. It'll be really funny if the Hawk is given the contract again!

  3. Ashok Nayak commented in Aero India 2009 press conference that the private sector is delaying HALs delivery schedules and basically how incompetent the private sector was.

    Combined with the above article it seems that he is blinded by any fault that HAL may have. When you have no awareness of a problem, you cannot start to find a solution.

    As much as he is a well wisher for India, sometimes people like him can do more harm than good.

  4. Ah Ha !!!! my grapevine about the delay in the Hawk assembly proved to be true !!!

    Ajai, request also check out on the HJT-36; hear that there are some major technical/ basic design issues there too (spin ??/stall ??). (apart from the fact that Baldev Singh holds the record of having pranged two HJT's !!!)

    Also, i think HAL is biting off more than it can chew/deliver (as mentioned in my post a few days ago); just too much for them to handle.

  5. on the lighter note! Looking at the images there seems to be no one on the assembly line. hope before taking pictures they were asked to go away :)
    but if this is the case i am sure there will be delays :) where are the planning guys?

  6. Manu before shooting your mouth off about Nayak, kindly learn something about aerospace in India. Your pavlovian response, ie immediately pick on Nayak, just because he is from a PSU and dares to do some plain speaking versus the Pvt sector and an OEM, is ridiculous.

    Many aerospace vendors in India take their time to get qualified via rigorous qualification procedures as laid out by DGQA and CEMILAC. HAL cannot compromise on vendor quality but has been striving to outsource as much as possible to concentrate on core business as well as build up an indian supplier base. This means delays when the private supplier faces certification challenges. Look at the case mentioned earlier by Ajai about how private suppliers are facing issues with gearbox manufacture to Navy suppliers.

    Net, while most private suppliers do overcome their problems and are very valuable additions to the overall aerospace community, they do face challenges in absorbing technology and maintaining timelines. For Nayak to point this out is hardly wrong.

  7. Has somebody any additional information about the abovementioned new AJT tender?

  8. Wasn't HAL going to design and develop an AJT?

  9. Спасибо давно это искал. Спасибо

  10. to anon 02 September 2009 16:09:

    I mean the abovementioned global inquiry for India’s requirement of 57 additional trainers. As I can undarstand, it's not logical after all if the next contract will go to BAE again. However, less BAE's Hawk I cannot see many possibilities for such kind of aircraft exept Russian Yak-130 and Italian M346.

  11. just look at the assembly line in UK and at HAL one can point out the difference

    looking at the assembly line at HAL our own govt doesn't provide the enough money so that more HAWKS can be built at the same time

    for the same above reason only 14 su30 are built every years

    it was our govt which delayed the HAWK procurement for 30 years

  12. BAE is private company which works professionally

    and HAL is SARKARI company totally non efficient and blame others cuz its handled by govt

  13. infact whole "SARKARI TANTRA" in india is totally inefficient whether its banking,fincance,transport,PWD,
    MUNICIPALITIES,hospitals etc etc all are corrupt so HAL is no exception

  14. I can't believe that people are cursing HAL for this fiasco also. In this case it is clear the BAe has perpetrated a massive fraud against India. They have given sub standard stuff to HAL and charged full money to them. India should sue BAe and bring them to book for this serious lapse. But I am sure that our corrupt ministers and babus will not do that cause it will expose their own deeds.

  15. It was way back in the early 1990s that HAL had a ToT agreement with the Lutton-based facility of Lucas Aerospace for licence-building cockpit transparencies for the Jaguar and Sea Harrier (and now for the HJT-36 IJT). This same agreement should have had a supplementary contract attached for fabricating the Hawk Mk132's cockpit transparencies. Even today, BAE Systems does not manufacture cockpit transparencies, but procures them from the Lutton-based facility. Therefore, it is questionable why India-made cockpit transparencies are being sent for QA approval/release certification to BAE Systems, instead of the original designer/developer of such cockpit transparencies. Secondly, the excuse given by HAL regarding the jigs and toolings is disingenuous, to say the least, since any shortcomings regarding such hardware should have been noticed during PRE-DELIVERY INSPECTIONS at BAE Systems' facilities, PRIOR to them being shipped to HAL. Noticing such shortcomings only AFTER their installation in HAL's assembly line means someone within HAL's Project team was either plain stupid, or erred intentionally.

  16. to AK

    I can't believe that people are cursing HAL for this fiasco also. In this case it is clear the BAe has perpetrated a massive fraud against India
    its not fraud

    what ever hardware is supplied to india is pre inspected by indian officials in UK,so why they did not find any error there and why error happens when shipment arrives in india.

    not to forget just look at production facility at HAL compared to one at UK,one can easily tell the difference who is at fault

    only 5 hawks being built at HAL at a time but there could be 10-15 at a time

  17. About the assembly lines... They are much better ordened and cleaner then those maintenance lines for the Migs and Flankers. I think it is a bit big to swallow for HAL. If you look at what they have to achieve (pushed by government/military) then you cannot expect something else then troubles.

  18. hey andrew de cristaforo aka the idiot anon who is raving and ranting about sarkari and what not, first teenagers like you should grow up and hold real jobs in real organizations before talking about the assembly lines (which look EXACTLY the same) and HAL. FYI, HAL's assembly lines are often better than those of their collaborators because they are new built and new additions. the facilities built for the MKI and equipment at korwa, hyderabad, nasik and koraput for the sukhoi is better in some cases than what ryazan, and irkut have.

    why dont you idiot teenaged kids grow up before ranting about issues you dont know anything about!!

  19. any normal person, not andrew de cristaforo, can see that the assembly lines at HAL are every bit as well ordered and set up as the ones at BAE. but no, this inferiority complex ridden, teenager has to keep spamming multiple message boards with his non stop nonsense.

    second, predelivery and all is a STUPID statement to give, thats when the defects are noticed you dumbos, and when the delay occurs when it turns out the equipment does NOT match committed specs.

    first do like Ajai does, you bunch of NRI wannabes and actually visit HAL to even make out whats going on.

  20. the only difference between the HAL lines and BAe lines that I can see is that the overhead lights are on in case of BAe but not so in HAL.

  21. to anon 03 September 2009 17:30

    first do like Ajai does, you bunch of NRI wannabes and actually visit HAL to even make out whats going on
    u stupid moron i am no NRI and live in very heart of india

    and yes don't forget i spammed your mom and you were born

  22. 66 British Hawks and thats all. Another 57 trainers are likely to be bought from another country and not U.K. The M-346 and T-50 are the top contenders.The Hawk problem finds similarity with that of the vintage Migs (spares and delays).

  23. Good Article. I would like to add on that such delays should not be encouraged at any cost. Some strict action should be taken against everyone responsible for such mistakes.


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