Following the recent space of accidents in the Indian Air Force (IAF), defence minister Manohar Parrikar clarified in the Parliament that no aircraft that is in operation in the IAF has completed its prescribed life and all the existing fleets have residual life for operational utilization.
Stating that every aircraft which is launched is fully airworthy, Parrikar added that IAF’s inventory is a mix of old and new generation aircrafts.
“Present policy of maintenance as provided by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) does not restrict the life of the aircraft to 15 years. No aircraft that has completed its prescribed life is in operation with IAF. All the existing fleets have residual life for operational utilization and every aircraft which is launched is fully airworthy,” Parrikar told the Lower House (Lok Sabha) of the Parliament recently.
This apart, Parrikar added that every aircraft accident / incident is thoroughly investigated by a Court / Board of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of accident and the recommendations of the completed Court / Board of Inquiry are implemented.
Elaborating on the preventive measures, Parrikar said the Defence Forces have taken various preventive measures like invigoration of Aviation Safety Organization, streamlining of accident / incident reporting procedure, analytical studies and quality audits of the aircraft fleets to identify vulnerable areas to avoid aircraft accident. Accident prevention programmes have been given an added thrust to identify risk prone / hazardous areas specific to the aircraft fleets and operational environment to ensure safe practices / procedures.
Replacement of military aircraft depends upon the national security / threat perception, strategic objectives and operational requirements of the defence forces and is reviewed by the Government from time to time. This, he said, is a continuous process.