- The inventory of the IAF is wide and varied in terms of technology and origin. The maintenance of the war waging machinery ranging from vintage to state of the art technology is a challenging task. The rationale for extended use has always been based on life review study reports prepared by experts in the field in association with specialists. The DRDO, institutes under the CSIR, premier technical institutes and defence PSUs have been a source for specialist advice.
- The potential to maintain any equipment in operational condition is primarily dependant on product support. The rapid growth in technological advancements in the recent past has led to obsolescence at an equally faster pace. This has resulted in diminishing product support from OEM to sustain desired state of our weapon platforms and systems.
- The effective utilisation of our resources was made through the option of reduce to produce. This was the simplest option available but it had an adverse impact on physical strength of the inventory. The situation and inescapable necessity for optimum utilisation of our resources forced us to a solution in the form of indigenisation.
The organisation structure for indigenous development activities is in three levels as below:-
- Air HQ. The broad policies, higher-level coordination with other agencies to facilitate indigenisation activities is by Director of Indigenisation functioning under ACAS (MP). The IAF is represented by ACAS (MP) in the apex indigenisation committee.
- HQ MC. HQ MC is the nodal agency for all aspects related to indigenisation activities. Command Indigenisation Officer facilitates, coordinates, and controls the indigenisation activities undertaken by BRDs
- BRDs. The BRDs are the executing agencies leading the development activities to a logical and conclusive end through direct interaction with various agencies. At depots, Sqn Cdr of IDS handles all indigenous development related cases.
Role of Base Repair Depots
The Base Repair Depots (BRDs) of the IAF are under functional control of HQ MC. Each BRD is assigned a specific role. They are also the designated indigenisation agency, for all range of spares for their assigned role. The roles of the BRDs are listed below :-
- 1 BRD Repair and overhaul of Russian origin transport aircraft.
- 3 BRD Repair and overhaul of Russian helicopters and aeroengine for transport aircraft
- 4 BRD Repair and overhaul of turbo-jet aero-engines and their aggregates.
- 5 BRD Repair and overhaul of Western origin transport aircraft. It is also assigned the role of maintenance of all range of aircraft testers for the IAF.
- 7 BRD Repair and overhaul of Surface to Air Missiles.
- 8 BRD Repair and overhaul of Russian Aircraft Support Vehicles and arrester barriers.
- 9 BRD Repair of a wide range of Electrical, Electronics rotables of airborne and ground equipment. 9 BRD also identified maintenance of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) equipment.
- 11 BRD Repair and overhaul of Russian fighter aircraft.
- 12 BRD Repair of all Electronic Warfare systems.
- 13 BRD Repair and overhaul of Radar and Communication equipment.
- 14 BRD Maintenance support for Radar and Communication units.
- 15 BRD Overhaul of DG Set and repair of Communication Equipment.
- 16 BRD Repair and maintenance of Parachute and survival equipment.
- 1 CIMD Centrally indigenisation and manufacturing activities.
All maintenance requirements of the BRDs, in addition to items specially tasked by HQ MC/Air HQ would be taken up for indigenisation. The indigenisation process as given below will be progressed by Indigenisation Squadron of the BRD.
- Emergence of Necessity : The indigenisation of IAF requirement is necessity driven.
- Techno-Commercial Details : The process of indigenisation is initiated by the concerned BRD. Towards this technical and commercial input is obtained from various agencies/vendors.
- Feasibility Study : This is a study to identify and establish whether it is practicable to meet the scientific and technical issues as well as it being a commercially viable option.
- Request for Proposal : The proposal for indigenous development is floated to all known potential vendors after short-listing them on repute and capabilities. The RFP is a document that spells out technical and commercial aspects.
- Opening of Bids : The process of receipt and opening of bids would be in accordance with instructions in Defence Procurement Manual.
- The technical evaluation of the bid would be done to ascertain conformity of the technical bid with the technical specifications of the RFP and also to bring all bidders on a level playing field in respect of qualitative requirement.
- The evaluation of commercial bids is the core activity in decision for development order. The commercial bids of vendors who have been approved by the TEC will only be considered. The development cost inclusive of prototype plus cost of quantity required as per current annual requirement will be the basis for determining L1 vendor
- Development Order : The development order will be placed on the L1 vendor. The development order will include all terms and conditions that affect the execution of the order.
- Post-Contractual Obligations : The vendor is to honour the contract obligation in totality. Subsequent to placement of development order the situations having financial bearing will be dealt with in accordance to DPM.
- Payment : On successful development and honouring of development order in totality the indigenisation officer of the BRD would process case to effect payment.
Process of Development
The BRDs develop the parts in accordance with the relevant standards on material, component drawing, process and acceptance testing. The Self Reliance Committee of the BRD issues certification for such items after carrying out tests indicated in the drawing and/or carrying out end use functional checks. The Items for which Technical Information is not available requires major effort from all agencies concerned. The procedure for indigenisation of such parts is as follows :-
- Generation of Technical Specifications : The first activity is generation and preparation of technical specifications. This document prepared by Indigenisation squadron of the depot would lay down design and performance characteristics of the stores. The information on the material and component drawings, where not available is to be generated by reverse engineering by the BRD through CEMILAC or test house.
- Design Phase : The design parameters are to be established and detailed design of all components, subsystems, systems including their process parameters are carried out.
- Preparation of Drawing : The drawings should be prepared in line with specifications.
- Prototype Development : The development should use only materials and processes called in the approved drawing.
- Testing : Tests in accordance with approved test schedule should be carried out, at an approved test house/laboratory.
- Test Report and Acceptance : On satisfactory compliance of the type test, record would be prepared and submitted to the certification agency for acceptance.
- Certification : After satisfactory completion of the trials the certification agency would provide a provisional clearance of the installation.
- Promulgation of Certification : On approval by certification agency a local certification (LC) number will be allocated for the indigenised item by the Indg Sqn of the BRD and the same promulgated to all concerned agencies.
- Procurement : The LC is a valid document to effect procurement through the developed source.
Challenges of Indigenisation for Aviation Industry
It would be appropriate to introduce on the working conditions that the airborne items are subjected during service application. This forms the basis of stringent airworthiness requirements and quality control checks before acceptance of spares in service. A few conditions that pose challenges to the development agencies are :-
- Aviation Grade Material and Design : The primary challenge is the material selection and structural design, as it involves characterisation of long-term responses of materials and structures to complex and cyclic environmental conditions. Aviation grade materials are required to have minimum scatter property. The simulated service testing to characterise aging is not foolproof due to the inability to reproduce complex service conditions in the laboratory. Important aspects of the environmental conditions encountered in-service cannot be accurately simulated.
- Operating Conditions and Stresses Among the variables that must be considered for the high-speed aircraft applications are operating temperatures, loads, ambient environmental conditions, moisture and fluid exposures, radiation, maintenance, and ground handling. These environments are influenced by changing loads, temperature, humidity, radiation, and other effects that are interactive and cannot be consistently recreated and controlled.
The typical mission of an aircraft involves variations in stress and temperature during flight. The modern day aircraft experience temperature variations due to the effect of aerodynamic heating at supersonic speeds. The skin temperature drops initially as the aircraft climbs due to exposure to decreasing ambient air temperatures. As the speed increases the temperature begins to increase, the skin temperature is in the range of 120C to 150C in the speed range of Mach1 to Mach 2.4. Differences in temperature throughout the structure cause different parts of the structure to expand by different amounts, giving rise to thermal stresses, which are added to the other imposed stresses. Once per flight, there is stress variation due to cabin pressurisation and de-pressurisation, as well as stresses that occur during take-off and landing. In addition, there are stresses due to maneuvering and gusts.
The exposure to extremes in ambient temperature ranging from about 60C to -30C, moisture from extreme humidity to desert conditions, and radiation, especially ultra-violet can cause degradation of coatings and structural materials or accelerate the damaging effects of flight exposure conditions.
- Operating Environment and Corrosion : Corrosion damage to aircraft fuselages is an example of atmospheric corrosion. Aircraft operating in marine environment deserve special mention in this context. The risk and cost of corrosion damage are particularly high in aging aircraft. Corrosion manifests in many different forms. Concentration cell corrosion, or crevice corrosion, is the most common type found in airplanes, occurring whenever water is trapped between two surfaces, such as under loose paint, within a delaminated bond-line, or in an unsealed joint. It can quickly develop into pitting or exfoliation corrosion, depending on the alloy, form, and temper of the material being attacked.
- Electromagnetic Interference : Electromagnetic interference is an undesirable disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. The disturbance may interrupt, obstruct, or otherwise degrade or limit the effective performance of the circuit. Aircraft control systems are located entirely within the aircraft and are shielded from absolutely any signals not coming from one of their own devices. They are based entirely on electrical signals conducted through wires, as are most computers. Navigation avionics, on the other hand, must have some designed sensitivity to environmental radio signals in order to perform their function.
- Reengineering : Indigenous designs and developments pose greater challenges, particularly in the field of aviation where the know-how is not available from the developed countries due to political and strategic considerations. It is an engineering process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object or system through analysis of its structure, function and operation. It involves considering a mechanical device, electronic component, or software program in isolation and analysing its workings in detail, usually to try to make a new device or program that does the same thing without copying anything from the original.
- High Reliability Requirement : The nature of task to be accomplished by an aircraft or missile system leaves no scope for laxity in the quality and reliability of the component. Malfunctioning of even a small component can lead to loss of hundred of crores and human life.
- Service Life : Average life of an aircraft or weapon system is 20 to 25 years. It is desirable that the component sees through the expected life of system.
Indigenisation for Indian Air Force
It is also considered reasonable to inform vendors that the requirements of IAF are maintenance requirements. Also there are no technology transfers/original designs. All the information available in the maintenance/overhaul manuals as also available with the experienced personnel of the Base Repair Depots will be made available to the vendors along with the samples. These details may be inadequate and detailed studies by a knowledgeable person from the concerned field to derive some more information will be required. Special test rigs may have to be developed for the extensive testing required.
Thus, for complex items, vendors are expected to be familiar with design and testing aspects of products. To ascertain this, two bid system is followed. The vendors are expected to develop engineering drawing / circuit diagrams, select appropriate materials and come out with a design. This along with the test schedules is to be approved by appropriate airworthiness approval authority. Ability to achieve this, is in fact one of the yardstick for IAF to assess vendors capabilities. However, in last few years IAF has taken up numerous studies, which have brought out details on ranges of spares. We willingly share all these details and whatever information is available.
No formal registration is required for participation in indigensation development activities of IAF.
Potential vendors identified form the following sources :-
- Proven and prospective vendors list of BRDs for different categories of spares for development / indigenisation.
- Vendor base of HAL, st1:City u1:st="on">ADA and few other DRDO Labs, LCSO, SIATI, CEMILAC and many others, for wider competition.
- Internet search to find capable vendor in desired field.
- Capable and potential vendors approaching BRDs/HQ MC and expressing their interest.
Request for proposal floated to potential vendor for bids is two part i.e., technical and commercial bid.
Technical evaluation done against laid down qualitative requirements to enable evaluation of all vendors on a common base. This is done to ensure that all vendors have understood the requirements of tender in the intended sense.
TEC report brings all tenders at par to help identify the product and service likely to be made available from selected vendors.
Price alone is criteria once the TEC clearance is given to determine award of the tender.
Price negotiation is done with tender awardee for negotiation of price.
The aim of the above elaborations was to give an insight of technology intensiveness of the IAF. The Indian Industry is certainly very capable. Our aim is only to prepare you for what you are in for. The requirements of airworthiness cannot be diluted. Nor can the fact, that aviation and aerospace are the most technologically advanced industries.
Our efforts are continuously on to simplify our procedures and share the hardships with our partners in the industry. We invite those of you, who have the capabilities, expertise, infrastructure and the willingness to contribute and prosper with us. For venturing into the complex spares, you have to be tough because as they say WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GETS GOING.
||Name & Appointment
||Air Force Station
||Air Force Station Chakeri
||Air Force Station
||Air Force Station Tughlakabad
New Delhi - 110062
||Air Force Station Avadi
||Air Force Station
||Air Force Station
||AirForce Station Nazafgarh
||Air Force Station Palam
|| SE (Indg)
||Air Force Station Palam
||C/O- Air Force Station Ojhar
||C Indg O
||Air HQ (RKP)
West Block-6, 2ndfloor, Wing-7, RK Puram
New Delhi- 110066
- Group 1 Aircraft, Helicopter & Aero-engines
- Group 2 Radar, Navigational aids & Missiles
- Group 3 Aircraft Support Vehicles, Arrester Barrier & Fabrics
- Group 4 Central Indigenisation & Manufacturing