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CAG points out significant delay in parachute orders from ordnance factories

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out that there was the significant delay for nine parachute items for the armed forces by the ordnance factory in Kanpur and deficiencies of these items to the extent of 33 to 100 per cent.

The Ordnance Parachute Factory Kanpur (OPF) manufactures various parachutes for the armed forces.

Users' requirement of parachutes is of significant importance because of their strategic use in a man carrying, supply drop, the emergency escape of pilots from aircraft, for aborted take-off and to reduce landing run length of aircraft.

The audit was conducted at the OPF and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for 2012-13 to 2016-17 on a production of 11 selected parachutes for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force (IAF) to ascertain whether OFB supplied quality parachutes to the users in time and as per their requirements.

The audit found that there were deficiencies in production planning like delays in holding target fixation meetings, non-identification of item-wise production capacity and production constraints/capacity shortage not highlighted in the meetings for fixing realistic targets.

The targets were routinely revised downwards mid-year due to OPF's "inability" to meet the target because of non-availability of quality metal components/fabrics and scarcity of vendors, the report said.

"Out of 49 instances analysed, OPF achieved production target only in five instances during 2012-13 to 2016-17.

The shortfall occurred mainly due to delayed procurement and receipt of input materials, limited vendor base and delay in resolving drawing/specification issues.

"As a result, there were significant outstanding orders for nine parachute items as of March/April 2017.

The users' also had deficiencies of seven parachute items to the extent of 33 to 100 per cent," the report observed.

Bulk production of two types of Heavy Drop (HD) parachutes, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2000 and 2009 for the Army and Navy could not be commenced due to the delayed receipt of drawing specification, delayed supply of pilot lot by OPF for validation trial and production constraints at sister factory for HD platform system, the report said.

The Army's requirement of combat free-fall parachute, developed by the in 2006, was not fulfilled due to "life-threatening defects" observed by the Army in validation trials and non-resolving the quality problems the by OPF and the DRDO, it observed.

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