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IAF fails to install missiles near China border even after four years: CAG

IAF fails to install missiles near China border even after four years: CAG

Indian Air Force has failed to deploy Aakash air defence missiles in six Indian Air Force stations near China border more than six years after receiving a green signal from the Cabinet Committee on Security on its installation.

Moreover, at least one-third of the Aakash missiles failed in IAF trials, making them unsuitable for use during the hostilities, the Comptroller and Auditor General has disclosed in its report tabled in the Parliament on Friday.

While CAG did not identify the missile and its proposed deployment area, sources said the missiles under the auditor's scanner was Aakash.

Aakash missiles were developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and manufactured by the Bharat Electronics Limited as the government decided to replace the vintage Pechora missile system, procured during 1974-90, with the indigenous one.

With rapid Chinese build up in military infrastructure near the border, the CCS in 2009 cleared induction of six squadrons of Aakash missiles for IAF stations under the Eastern Command. The missiles were to be delivered between June 2013 and December 2015.

After several months of delay, IAF received the missiles between April 2014 and June 2016 from Bharat Electronics Limited, but none of the six sites were ready for the missile's induction.

Before the delivery of the missile, the BEL was to create the necessary infrastructure such as buildings for storage of missiles which required suitable temperature and humidity conditions; building for preparation and testing; workshops; building for maintenance of vehicles, ramp for deployment of radar at six IAF stations where the missiles would be deployed for air defence.

As on October 2016, the infrastructure is not completed in any of the six sites. At two stations although 98% and 80% of the work had been completed as of October 2016, IAF had not taken over these buildings because of defects in the construction, which rendered them unsuitable for to store the missiles.

In other stations, the progress was below 45% as on October 2016.

On receiving the missiles, IAF released 95% of the payment based on the factory acceptance test. But when 20 missiles were test fired, almost 30% of them (6 missiles) failed.

Preliminary failure analysis found the missiles fell short of the target, had lower than the required velocity, and also there was malfunctioning of critical units like servo control unit and connector. Two missiles had failed to take off because the booster nozzle had failed.

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