In a written reply, Defence Minister A K Antony said adequate safeguards are in place to ensure that navy’s operational capabilities are not compromised during the time a ship is under refit and repairs. He was asked whether the country does not have an aircraft carrier prowling the high seas.
“No. One aircraft carrier is currently in commission ... (INS) Viraat can soldier on for another three years,” he said.
Antony also said that repairs and refits are planned activities and a normal feature in the life of a ship. “Adequate safeguards are in place to ensure that the operational capabilities of the navy are not compromised during the time a ship is under refit. After completion of refit, the life of a ship gets extended depending on the nature of refit,” he said.
In reply to another question, he said a contract has been signed with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for supply of 42 Su-30 MKI aircraft at a total cost of Rs 16,147.28 crore. He also said the aircraft are planned to be delivered by 2016-17.
Replying to a query on establishment of a strike corps, Antony denied that the government has shelved the proposal to raise and maintain such a corps.
On proposals to export indigenously developed helicopters, Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh said, “Seven Advance Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruv have already been supplied to the Ecuador.”
Jitendra Singh added that orders have come for supply of three Chetak and equal number of Cheetal helicopters to Suriname and Afghanistan, respectively.
Replying to a question on list of defence equipment bought under Life Cycle Cost method, Antony said, “So far only one contract i.e. supply of Basic Trainer Aircraft, has been concluded using the total cost of acquisition model under the LCC approach.”