India and the UAE are planning to expand their joint military training with a focus on improving desert operations.
The issues were discussed between defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the UAE’s minister of state for defence, Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falacy, on Tuesday.
The UAE minister be in Bangalore on Wednesday to visit the HAL facility, where he been shown Tejas. “The UAE has shown interest in the Tejas,” said Indian officials.
The UAE minister will also visit the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, which flight tests aircraft, airborne systems and weapon stores prior to their induction.
“During their meeting, both ministers discussed a range of defence cooperation issues and agreed on priority areas for cooperation,” read a statement issued by the defence ministry.
Keeping this in mind, the UAE has shown a keen interest in Tejas, the light combat aircraft made by HAL, government officials said.
He is on an official visit to India and will return after visiting the facilities of defence PSUs, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), on Wednesday.
Even Sri Lanka, Egypt and Singapore have evinced interest in the indigenous fighter jet.
But HAL will first have to meet the demands of the IAF says defence officials . It is trying to meet IAF’s demand for 123 Tejas. The IAF is also looking at inducting more than 200 Tejas Mark 2.
The Choice of HAL by UAE delegation has caused embarrassment to ruling establishments . BJP Defense minister Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman in her rebuke to Opposition party leader Rahul Gandhi over choose of Private party Reliance over Government agency HAL has questioned HAL efficiency in Rafale flight deal
In that Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman was explaining why the UPA government’s negotiations for a Rafale deal fell through and had to be reworked by the Narendra Modi government, with the offset contract going to a company owned by Private firm Anil Ambani’s Reliance group.
For that ., Reacting to Defense minister observations Former HAL chief T. Suvarana Raju was recently quoted as saying HAL could have built Rafale fighters in India had the government succeeded in closing the original negotiations with Dassault Aviation.
The official who spoke to media also cited how HAL used to make 12 to 13 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets and 16 to 18 Hawk trainers a year.
“What the defence minister should have considered while questioning HAL’s capability is that our country won wars on the back of fighter aircraft built by this establishment,” he said.
A trade union leader at HAL said: “How can she (Sitharaman) make such a remark without even visiting our factory here? Did she ever stop to think what such a statement might do to the morale of the thousands of engineers and technicians who work here?” The Bangalore facility employs 9,000 workers and 5,000 engineers, most of them highly qualified. Another 4,500 contract workers play a secondary role in the various departments
“As it is, we are running out of orders. Our current order book is worth Rs 61,000 crore, which will last hardly three years. A healthy order book should last at least 10 years,” the trade union leader said.
He added: “While manufacturing is our bread and butter, some small money comes in from MRO (maintenance, repairs and overhauls).” Among HAL-built aircraft that come for MRO are the Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Surya Kiran and helicopters such as the Cheetah, Chetak and the Advanced Light Helicopter.
Both the Cheetah and the Chetak originally the Alouette and the Lama are products of French aerospace manufacturer Aerospatiale.
“It is high time the central government realised that only a public sector company would be there in times of trouble, as we have seen during all the wars,” the trade union leader said.
He recalled how HAL employees had worked overtime to get the air force’s fighter jets and helicopters in fighting condition during the 1971 war.