Indias Comptroller and Auditor General Criticises Airforce Aerostat Radar Program

Elta EL/M-2083

The Indian Air Force (IAF) was reprimanded by the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General)for causing damage to an aerostat radar deployed along the Pakistan border to monitorlow-flying enemy aircraft resulting in a loss of Rs 302 crore.

In its report tabled today in Parliament, the CAG said the accident took place in May 2009 due to “failure” of its three officers and the critical radar is likely to get operational only by the end of next year.

The accident has hit the surveillance capabilities of the IAF with one of its two aerostat radars procured from Israel getting damaged.

The report said a Court of Inquiry to investigate the causes of the accident involving the Rs 338 crore aerostat “held three officers responsible for their failure in adequate supervision” of the maintenance activities.

“All the three officers were awarded severe displeasure (censured) for six months as they failed to carry out their responsibilities,” the report said.

Slamming the Air Force for the mishap, the CAG said the repair of the damaged system is estimated to cost Rs 302 crore.

“The recovery programme of the damaged aerostat would take 18 months from the commencement of repair work. However, the IAF could issue the RFP to vendor for damage assessment in April 2010 and the contract was not concluded by June 2011,” it said.

The CAG said that by the time IAF makes the aerostat operational by 2012, 80 per cent of its prescribed life would have been completed.

The government auditor said against the authorised four meteorological officers and nine meteorological assistants, “the Unit had no meteorological officers and only two meteorological assistants were there.”