New Delhi: Recommendations made by the Indian Parliament's standing committee on defence, if followed up by the Government, would allow India's premier defence aerospace establishment and public sector undertaking, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), to partner global aerospace majors in developing engines for fighter aircraft. According to a report tabled by the committee, collaboration with global majors would provide "initial impetus' in the development of such engines in India.
In its report the committee has observed that such collaboration would allow "HAL to take up design and development of large and complex aero-engines over a period of time--- a capability still lacking in India".
The recommendation, if followed up, would be in synch with an earlier decision by the government that allows the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO) Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) to go in for foreign collaboration in order to conclude final development activities on the indigenously developed Kaveri aero- engine.
In its report the committee has mentioned that the ministry of defence (MoD) is currently studying proposals for co-development of F-125 engines with US company Honeywell and with global giant Rolls Royce for Adour Mk821 and 250-C40B engines. The MoD was also looking at the participation of HAL on Pratt and Whitney's FT4000 engine project.
The report, tabled in Parliament on Thursday, has also said that the committee has recommended that HAL be given "full functional and financial autonomy" and is freed from operating under the auspices of the DRDO. "HAL should be allowed to function on the lines of ISRO and the Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missile project", the committee's report says.
"HAL should be totally independent from DRDO. It should be re-structured so as to make it an autonomous research and development organisation," the committee said.
The committee has also said that in spite of its long service record, HAL has failed to develop leadership in aeronautic defence research projects. It pins blame for this failure on "bureaucratic control" by the MoD.
Amongst other recommendations, the report also urges the appointment of experts and professionals from the corporate world to the board of directors of this public sector undertaking. It has also suggested that the armed forces should be given permanent representation on the board.
Further, the committee has also called for decentralization of power within HAL, asking for its four different complexes to be recognised as separate and independent entities.
The standing committee has also recommended that a high-level committee be appointed to work out HAL's re-structuring programme.