HAL production capability on a par with peers: CMD

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Can’t compare labour cost of my first aircraft with someone’s 100th: R. Madhavan

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd on Thursday said its production quality and capability is on a par with any other comparable aerospace OEM (original equipment manufacturer).

HAL CMD R. Madhavan told a news conference during Aero India 2019, “Our job is to manufacture aircraft. Yes, we do feel bad whenever people speak ill of the company. But we try to take it in our stride.”

The morale of employees remains intact even after HAL faced aspersions on its competence, he said.

The state-owned defence public enterprise has been repeatedly berated openly by people ranging from Ministers to high-ranking officers, that the aircraft it makes for the Indian Air Force and its productivity were not up to the mark.

He said the February 1 crash of a Mirage fighter plane being upgraded by HAL was one trigger. “It is not as it has been projected. Let us wait for the court of inquiry to come out with its report.” The company would not comment on the cause of the crash while an inquiry was on, he said.

The other older issue is that it did not get the licence to produce the Rafale fighter planes that are being bought for the IAF.

Asked how the company was countering the negative perceptions, Mr. Madhavan said, “Much has been said about the Rafale purchase. It is a government decision.

“We don’t want to say anything about it.”

One reason for its rejection is that HAL’s man hours earlier cited to produce the fighters were higher than those of France’s Dassault Aviation, which is the Rafale plane’s OEM.

Mr. Madhavan defended HAL’s labour cost as being much lower than that of others in its league. “You cannot compare the cost of my first aircraft with someone else’s 100th aircraft. If you compare my 100th and another’s 200th, probably my company’s efficiencies would be much better,” he said.

The financial condition of the company was very stable and robust, profitability was growing and the company had ₹12,000 crore in reserves and surplus.

About ₹9,500 crore was outstanding from the Armed Forces, mainly from prime customer IAF. The problem was being sorted out, he said.

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