JayS wrote:2-3 months delay for First article is OK. I always expected that much. They can cover it later.
HAL has habit of slogging at the end of FY. So they may still manage 3-4 aircrafts before March end. Lets see.
Jay, this is no longer acceptable. They're competing against the likes of Boeing and Dassault, which are delivering their airplanes on time or even ahead of schedule. Now, there is a clear requirement for hundreds of HAL built LCA and MWF fighters and yet HAL seems to give IAF and its critics the ammo to criticize its non-adherence to schedules.
Earlier we all used to crib about the IAF not committing to enough numbers to justify speeding up production, but that is no longer the case.
IMO, its OK for Slight delays on first article. Small delay now can be absorbed over next 1.5yrs. We do not have exact idea how many changes are there from IOC to FOC. Things are too fluid and IOC SOP was frozen in 2015. Better to take a bit more time and set all processes properly, than to hurry and end up having a crash. The issue with LCA is that HAL has little control over the configuration. The risk management to maintain time and cost has to be the integral part of the program management itself. I'm sure you have noticed by now that we still do not have hard- nosed program management that OEMs like Boeing have. We are pushing too many changes constantly. Had Boeing been making LCA they would never have entertained so many change requests from IAF or ADA, as MFG agency. We have a unique hybrid system currently. Also, Whenever you have a new Baseline or configuration it disturbs the MFG rhythm. A lot of changes and relook at processes are scheduled at such events. Its take a while to set everything in order and get back to rhythm. Thats why ordering too small batches introduce delays. We cannot expect HAL to directly resume from where they left at the end of IOC batch. Ideally the production should not have waited for final FOC production go-ahead, the FOC config frozen much before actual FOC is planned, so production can smoothly switch from IOC to FOC batch without such long gap. But HAL alone has no control on it. We did start production early, could habe been even earlier. I dont think in Western system there is such thing as Production go-ahead. A particular config is frozen for certification and its certified from certifying agency. The OEM controls when and how to manage production in order to keep delivery commitments.
Delays for First Article are quite common for all OEM. Just see how much delayed 777x is currently. Deliveries were to start next year and its yet to make first flight still. Just an example off the top of my head.
HAL should make sure it delivers all 16 FOC fighters by March 2021.