Not Interested in Rafale Offsets, Says HAL CMD
Amidst the political controversy over the procurement of 36 fighter multi-role fighter aircraft from France, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan, on Thursday, 21 February, said the PSU is not interested in the Rafale offsets.
While addressing media at Aero India 2019 Madhavan said: “As of now, it (Rafale deal) is a direct purchase, because of that we are not interested. If it was the manufacturing, we are interested in it. We are not interested in the offsets in the direct purchases. Also, it is the government’s decision (to allocate offsets).”
‘Financial Situation Stable’
Commenting on the recent controversy over HAL borrowing close to Rs 962 crore to pay salaries due to payment default by the armed forces, CB Ananthakrishnan, director (Finance) of HAL said the financial situation of the PSU is stable.
“Our targets are being met, our profitability is increasing. The only issue was the cash flow, because of some receivable delays and budget allocation delays, even they are being sorted out… the cash flow from the armed forces has begun,” he said.
Answering specific questions on HAL’s quality being questioned and the general denting of its image, CMD Madhavan said: “Our quality is at a par with anybody else... There was some bad press after the Mirage crash, but we decided not to say anything until the CoI (court of inquiry) is complete. The Rafale thing has been going on for a while now, and that has not affected our morale.”
Confident of Exporting Tejas
A day after the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas was declared combat ready, R Madhavan said HAL is looking at exporting the fighter aircraft and there are a few countries that have shown interest. While he didn’t share specific details about the export proposal, he added that some countries in North Africa and the Asia-Pacific region have shown interest in India’s homemade fighter plane.
Not Ignored by Government
Talking about his delivery plans for the Indian Air Force, Madhavan said the first flight of the upgraded Tejas Mk 1A would take place in 2022, and the talks to produce 83 Tejas Mk 1 have already begun. He said HAL doesn’t feel neglected by the government, stating: “If we were ignored, we wouldn’t get orders that we are getting,” he said.