MoD blames BAE Systems in parliament for the Hawk production delay - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 22 April 2010

MoD blames BAE Systems in parliament for the Hawk production delay

Seven and a half months after Broadsword reported (on 2nd Sept 09) that HAL squarely blamed BAE Systems for the delays in producing the "raw" (i.e. built from ground up, as opposed to built from CKD or SKD kits) Hawk trainers in India, the MoD today corroborated what HAL Chairman, Ashok Nayak, told me in August. The statement made by the MoD in parliament today is appended below.

When that article was going to press BAE Systems called me up and vociferously denied anything to do with the delays. They also denied it in writing; my article carried in my article. Go back to 2nd Sept for another look.




New Delhi: Vaisakha 02, 1932

April 22, 2010

Delivery of 42 (Hawk-AJT) aircraft was scheduled from 2007-2008 to 2010 – 2011 in a phased manner. Three aircraft were to be built from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits, three from completely knocked down (CKD) kits and 36 from raw material phase. The CKD and SKD kits were assembled on schedule. When production in raw material phase was taken up, it was found that the equipment supplied by the OEM had various shortcomings. The assembly jigs that were supplied did not meet the requirements, there was mismatch in the kits/components supplied, there were defects in major assemblies like the wing spar etc. These problems took time to overcome and hence affected the production schedule at HAL.

HAL has manufactured 12 aircraft till now, three in the year 2008-2009 and nine in the year 2009-2010, including the first aircraft from raw material phase. The Air Force is not facing any acute shortage of trained pilots and the delay in delivery schedule of AJTs by HAL is not affecting the Air Force. Indian Air Force is meeting its requirement by utilizing the existing resources for training of pilots

This information was given by Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju in written reply to Smt Mohsina Kidwai in Rajya Sabha today.


  1. why do these guys ever deserve the title Shri?

  2. The question we need to ask is, why the heck has the MoD under Shri. Antony not blacklisted BAe?

    There is more than what meets the eye here. BAe is a professional company and supplies defence equipment to a lot of countries.

    So what exactly prompted them to give such third class service to India?

    India is like a goose that lays golden eggs. It would be sheer stupidity to kill this goose for a short term gain. This deal is a sure shot case of corruption at the highest level in which the biggest names are involved. I am sure that no one will ever get caught and IAF pilots will keep on getting killed.

  3. This is not a case of corruption.

    It seems more like a typical case of the "Buyer's employees" protecting themselves for their own mistakes....and everyone within the "Buyer's organization" closes flanks supporting each other.

    Do we know if the MOD's contract with BAE was written well? Did the contract cover all exigiencies? Did it have experienced persons examining it from every possibility? Even if you argue... yes....., Was this person accountable? How can he ever be..... if he is posted out before the contract is fully executed?

    Sure, BAE may also be at fault in this one. I dont know the facts. But thats not the point.

    Have you ever heard of any MOD official ever being penalized for mistakes?

    Sure the CAG may indict them from time to time, but only "after the problem occurs"....always a case of too little too late... which is of no use.

    What we need is "better professional contract ownership and accountability" and better "leadership at all levels".

    What we do have is diverse vertical organizatons within the deptt negotiates contracts, another monitors its execution, another is the inspecting body, another is the user body.....and so on.

    Normally this should not be a problem. But here in India, the level of bureacracy is just too much. One deptt will not talk to another, even if they have offices opposite each other. no sir. The file will move and sit and move and sit. The real objective will be subjected through different prisms and different readings will come out.

    Files sit on desks, under the garb of officials being too busy....which is also true. But is also the bedrock that festers problems.

    We need good Leadership from the top...seeping to every level within the MOD.

    What we have is like a "procedural cancer". There is no time deadline for Files to move fast. No one gets up from their desks, walks across to different officials' room to get 'direct clarity'.

    Why? Aaaah but theres a big problem! Why is someone being so proactive or interested in any issue/contract? Fingers wag, Does he have personal interest? Lets put the CVC on him. No one wants to make himself vulnerable to this.

    And so the cancer festers on. The MOD has a serious case of indecisiveness at all levels. Stems from lack of leadership at all levels.

    We have truly tied ourselves into a knot.

    Sadly.....the top Leader of MOD, Mr. Antony, does not realize that his honorable penchant for honesty / policy of no tolerance to only festering this cancer. One respects him for several reasons....but the irony is that those very reasons are festering indecisiveness and corruption....and sadly, he will never realise it. He cant.

    Can only be corrected by better leadership "from top, unison".

    Maybe we need to have "Leadership courses customised to solving this specific problem faced by the MOD" and have serious classes with exams for all MOD officials. Only the ones who score high.... get promotions.

    Just a suggestion. Im not the expert.

  4. Kickbacks, commissions etc. ensure that no penalty clauses are built into the "agreement". Now all HAL/ MoD can do is cry over spilt milk and lick the problems themselves. Meanwhile it is the air-force that faces the consequences and improvise accordingly.
    Now we are going down the same road again with the basic trainers.Reality is we never want to learn from our mistakes.
    "It happens only in INDIA".
    Jai Ho !

  5. Ajai,
    Has BAE completed delivery of all 24 aircraft built in UK? Is there an particular reason why the Naval requirement for 17 jets cannot be satisfied by BAE rather than HAL.
    Infact how cheaper are the Hawks manufactured by HAL compared to those by BAE.

  6. The way things are headed....especially if no less than the Mr. Pallam Raju indicts BAE Systems at Parliamnent......means that BAE is probably headed to be "blacklisted".

    Wont that be a disservice to India? Who all will we blacklist?

    To top it all, we dont really know the truth.

    I cannpt believe that a simple short one page summary press note of the MOD....can summarise all problems being only by the Seller....and a blanket clean chit for itself (HAL)!

    A contract is not written well by the buyer. The Seller also maybe has erred somewhat. When the inevitable screw up occurs....the punishment is not commensurate to the "true problems".

    lets not fool ourselves that only others are too blame.

    Look further:

    What effect will this have on the Mahindra-BAE systems JV? Also the ongoing AJT tender might see BAE booted out if blacklisted....and the IAF will end up with yet another aircraft type in its inventory!!

    Who benefits and who gets really punished, from all this.....?

    By meting out such punishment to suppliers, are we not also hurting ourselves?

    When will we learn?

    Pakistan must be doubling up with laughing.

  7. ajai sir any news on the brahmos missles

  8. Why blame foreign vendors when we are the ones who come out as complete idiots when signing contracts.

  9. Sudip Das ( April 2010 at 09:09

    If the contract is drafted properly ,then this kind of delays will permit India to file legal cases against errant contractors

  10. "BAe is a professional company and supplies defence equipment to a lot of countries. "

    These are the amateur comments that bear no relation to reality and are all over the internet blogs. FYI - BAE has a long track record of screwing the UK taxpayer over. Might want to read this:

    The anon@ 11:36 and 23:55, just shows the depths to which people will go to cover the mistakes/and outright skullduggery perpetrated by companies like BAE and attempt to do FUD by shifting the blame to MOD and HAL..which of course being Indian are always to blame.


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