The Indian Air Force has been pulled up by a government watchdog for its low efficiency in operation and utilisation of aircraft due to high Aircraft on Ground (AOG) rate, low serviceability and less achievement in flying tasks.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report
tabled in Parliament said that against the serviceability level of 75 per cent assumed by the defence ministry at the time of procurement, the actual serviceability rates of aircraft ranged between 47 and 51 per cent during 2002-2005.
It said the number of AOG was also high and increased from 23.94 per cent in 2002 to 33.29 per cent in 2005, the report said.
This showed that the required number of aircraft were not in a condition to fly, affecting their availability to the squadrons for use in assigned tasks.
"The high levels of un-serviceability and AOG indicated the existence of inadequate repair and maintenance capabilities at wings and repair depots," the report said.
It noted that aircraft were used for routine and miscellaneous tasks by diverting them from their primary roles of air maintenance and training.
Of the total flying hours utilised by six squadrons and units, only 33 per cent were used for primary role of air maintenance and training, and 67 per cent were spent for routine tasks and miscellaneous duties, resulting in a shortfall of 43 per cent in achieving air maintenance and 58 per cent in training.
The report found that eight aircraft were modified for "VIP Role" without approval of the government. Modification of aircraft diverted them from operational tasks and reduced their passenger and cargo carrying capacity.
It said such modification also lacked justification as a separate specialised communication squadron has adequate aircraft for use by VIPs.
Large-scale diversion of serviceable aircraft for VIPs and other entitled persons' use affected availability of aircraft for operational purposes.
The CAG in its report noted that there was an overall shortage of pilots ranging from 13 to 22 per cent during the period of review. At the same time, there was an excess of navigators and flight engineers clearly indicating an imbalance in manpower deployment.