Surgical Strikes: HAL, Which Keeps IAF Flying, On Alert


New Delhi: Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which maintains IAF’s fighter aircraft, has been put on high alert with compulsory overtime (no regular shifts) in place and engineers and technicians have been instructed to keep their bags ready for travel when required.

HAL’s brass met its staff across units — Sukhoi, MiG, Mirage, Jaguar and other helicopter platforms — for 40 minutes on Thursday. “This followed the midnight meeings in Delhi. From Saturday, HAL technicians, engineers and managers will have to work up to 11pm every day. Managers motivated us to stay committed to our work, saying it is of national importance,” said a source. “It reminded us of the Kargil conflict in 1999 when we did not go home for weeks,” he said.

HAL is the fourth line of service when aircraft develop problems. “The first two lines of servicing happen at the squadron level. The third line, which requires a higher degree of repair work, goes to base repair depots (BRD). For repairs on the engine, avionics and other major control systems it goes to the manufacturer/assembler,” a retired Air Officer-in-charge Maintenance of IAF said.

An HAL official, confirming the alert, said, “We do the Sukhoi and MiG platforms in Nashik, while all the European platforms of fixed wing fighters (Mirage and Jaguar) are done in Bengaluru.”

During Kargil conflict, a retired HAL employee said, “Technicians worked for more than two months. We have strong workers’ unions here.” The source said managers have taken unions into confidence at the meeting.

Security reviewed at key installations

With heightened tension between India and Pakistan, the government on Thursday reviewed the security of airports, seaports, nuclear installations and other vital infrastructures guarded by the CISF. Sources said newly appointed CISF chief O P Singh met home minister Rajnath Singh and briefed him about the security measures undertaken by the force at various civil airports and vital aerospace installations.