Parliamentary Panel Says Procurement of Fighter Jets Should Not Be Delayed

The panel also noted that the Navy's request to manufacture a third aircraft carrier have been brought up several times.

New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence has said that the Union government should not delay the procurement of additional fighter jets.

It noted that the Navy’s request to manufacture a third aircraft carrier have been brought up several times.

“In no uncertain words, (we) recommend that Ministry of Defence may take a final decision, chalk out a trajectory and start the planning process for the third aircraft carrier which would eventually enhance India’s maritime capabilities,”the parliamentary panel said in its report on March 21.

The Tribune reported that two aircraft carriers are consistently required for meeting threat perceptions and for preparedness and striking capabilities during war. A third carrier is needed as carriers have long maintenance schedules.

However, The Wire had in December 2020 reported that the possibility of materialising the purchase of a third carrier appears nebulous due to financial and operational reasons.

Also read: Why India Needs a Large Aircraft Carrier: An Ex-submariner Makes the Case

The committee also said it found “considerable delay” in the supply of 40 LCA Tejas jets from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the newspaper reported.

“The government should consider buying state-of-the-art fifth generation fighter aircraft over the counter without losing time to keep the force in a comfortable position,” the committee said.

Previously, the panel had expressed concern over the delay in creation of the LCA Tejas jets, which it believed was one of the main causes of the Air Force’s depleting fighter jet strength.

According to the Indian Express, it had said, citing representatives of the Air Force, that “the total technical life of most of the existing squadron is expiring and consequently the squadron strength is progressively depleting.”

The current strength of around 30 squadrons, as per the committee, will deplete further as older fighter jets are phased out.