air force: Air Force slashes procurement budget on Russia supply delays

air force: Air Force slashes procurement budget on Russia supply delays

With military supplies from Russia facing roadblocks given the war in Ukraine, the Indian Air Force has sharply reduced its projected spending on procurement for FY24. The cut has taken place due to delays in the supply of the critical S400 air defence system and spares for the air force fleet.

The air force informed a parliamentary panel that while there is no paucity of funds available from government for modernisation, it reduced the capital budget projections as “stage-wise payment” expected to take place are unlikely to happen due to delays.

“There is a major project… where the deliveries have been stopped because of the war (that is) going on. So, we had a major delivery in this year, which is not going to take place,” an air force representative told the parliamentary standing committee on defence recently. “They have given us in writing that they are not able to deliver it. That is why the major part of projection has been reduced.”

India has received three S400 squadrons, two of which have been deployed on the east and west borders.


Issues over payments
The remaining two squadrons that were to be delivered in FY24 are likely to be delayed, with no clear indication on fresh timelines, said people with knowledge of the matter. The $5.43 billion deal for five S400 squadrons was inked with Russia in 2018, with deliveries scheduled to be completed by mid-2024.For FY23, the air force had projected capital expenses of Rs 85,322 crore, though the actual allocation was less. However, in the FY24 budget, it projected expenses of Rs 58,808 crore, with the entire amount being allocated.”As far as projection is concerned, our projection last year was Rs 85,000 crore and we finally got allocation of Rs 57,000 crore which we consumed,” the air force representative said. “This year, the projection itself has been less because of this Russia-Ukraine war as some of our deliveries are not taking place. So, we have already been told that those deliveries will not take place. So, we have taken that part of the component out.”

Beyond delays in supplies, issues over payments from India to Russia are still to be resolved. Last year, the air force surrendered Rs 1,837 crore from its capital budget, mostly on account of payments not being processed to Russian entities that are facing western sanctions.

India has been taking steps to move towards indigenisation, with big orders for light combat aircraft and helicopters, but the legacy fleet still is dependent on Russian support. A bulk of India’s jet fighters – from the Su 30MKI to MiG 29s and in-service MiG 21s – are of Russian origin. Some of these, like the Su 30MKI, are likely to stay in service for the next two decades.

Source link