November 27, 2014

Taneja Aerospace signs contract to upgrade MiG-29s

Pune-based Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited (TAAL) has bagged the contract for life cycle upgradation of MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF). TAAL competed with much bigger players like Tatas, L&T and Punj Lloyd among total eight bidders to get this deal worth over Rs 12 crore.

The deal signed on Wednesday is being dubbed as the first of its kind, because so far only smaller jobs like manufacture of spares or other allied services were outsourced by the IAF. Never before has a private company been involved in retrofitting of an entire aircraft. Till now, this was the sole domain of defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

TOI had reported in December last year that seven private players had evinced interest in the aircraft upgrade contract. They had responded to the request for information (RFI) floated by IAF for upgrade of MiG-29s and AN-32. The latter is a transport aircraft while the MiG-29 is known to be among the best air defence planes with the IAF.

As compared to other bidders, TAAL is not a known name. Currently it has a turnover of Rs 50 crore, but it also has the credit of being maybe the first Indian company to have entirely built an aircraft. In the 1990s, it had made a hobby aircraft meant to be sold to flying clubs. However, the project did not take off. TAAL is currently a Tier-1 supplier to HAL with its aviation unit located at Hossur near Mysore.

The project is aimed at increasing the life cycle of MiG-29s for a period of another 40 years. IAF will be providing TAAL the spares and components to fitted in the aircraft. The job will be executed at the base repair depot (BRD) at Nashik. The BRDs come under IAF's maintenance command headquartered at Nagpur.

Talking to TOI after the contract was signed, TAAL CEO NC Agrawal said IAF will provide training for the first two aircraft, after which it aims to finish four MiG-29s every three months. IAF has close to 50 MiG-29s in all. The work will be jointly done by IAF and TAAL. Agrawal said, considering the size of the job, the company plans to hire experienced manpower from IAF and HAL.

"The size of the contract may not be much, but TAAL finds that it will help the company go a long way. Even for us, it will be treading a new path with all its risks. However, it will provide an experience in an altogether new field," said Agrawal. He hoped that it will eventually lead to a private player being involved in making of a military aircraft.

A similar move is expected for the AN-32s, with the private vendor expected to be finalized within the next week, said a source in IAF.



MiG-29 upgrade is first such job handed over to private player instead of to HAL

Taneja Airspace would work at Nashik base repair depot (BRD) of IAF

It will be given spares and components to be fitted in MiG-29s by the IAF

IAF will also train people while working on first two planes

IAF plans to upgrade some 50 planes in its fleet


DRDO builds indigenous autopilot for Avro aircraft

Nagpur: After a supplier left the Indian Air Force (IAF) unable to service autopilot systems in its Avro aircraft, new autopilot systems for the planes have been developed by units under the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).

The Avro, a transport plane, is one of the ageing aircraft in the IAF fleet. The British-made planes are also used to ferry senior officials of the IAF. The autopilot systems enable the plane to fly a specific course from one point to another without human interference. However, of late, there was a problem with the autopilot systems in the plane, due to which the pilots had to revert to manual mode.

In a similar problem that the IAF is facing with other aircraft too, it has not been able to secure equipment from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

Now, the latest FOG autopilot systems have been developed with the help of Research Centre Imarat (RCI), an unit under DRDO. The gear has been developed on the same lines as that fitted in one of the missile systems, said a senior IAF official involved in the process.

The systems will now be sent for user trials, which will be undertaken by the Aircraft and Systems Tests Establishment (ASTE), also under DRDO. The indigenization has brought down the cost of the systems to a few lakhs, said a source.
- timesofindia

No comments:

Post a Comment