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Navy's IL-38 aircraft have no firepower
May 14, 2007 18:49 IST
The first two of the five Russian IL-38 maritime reconnaissance aircraft of the Indian Navy upgraded at a staggering cost of Rs 269.37 crore are without crucial anti-ship missiles, torpedoes and bombs.
"The first of the five upgraded aircraft were received in the middle of last year after undergoing mid-life retrofitting in Russia, but are without essential avionics and weapon systems," the Comptroller and Auditor General said in its latest report tabled in Parliament.
Handing out a reprimand to the Navy for the lapse, the CAG said this was 'seriously limiting their operations capabilities.'
The Navy signed a deal with the original Russian manufacturer in 2001 to upgrade five of its remaining IL-38 maritime reconnaissance aircraft at a cost of Rs 673.42 crore entailing replacement of its obsolete sensors, weapon systems as well as extension of life of the aircraft by 15 years.
The step by the Navy assumed urgency as in 2002, it had lost two IL-38s during a mid-air collision and its remaining maritime reconnaissance fleet of Russian TU-142 was also facing grounding with the aircraft overdue for upgradation.