Concerned over a US Senate investigation that pointed to fake Chinese parts in the C-130J aircraft programme, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has sent several suspect electronic systems to the US for analysis over the past few months but, according to it, none of them were found to be faulty or containing counterfeit components.
Responding to concerns that the C-130J aircraft that crashed last week near Gwalior, killing all its five crew members, could have suspect components in its electronic systems like the display panels, an IAF official has said the matter was taken up with the US in 2012 after a report by The Indian Express pointed out the US Senate investigation.
“After the report, we had contacted the US manufacturer for a status position and were told that if any faults were found in the systems, they would be replaced. However, we insisted that information be shared with us if any systems on our six aircraft had Chinese components,” the IAF official said. Following the insistence from India that a list of all equipment with suspect parts be shared, the US manufacturer checked its inventory and came up with a list, matching systems on board the Indian aircraft with the serial numbers of parts that contained suspected counterfeit Chinese components.
The list shared by the US contained less than two dozen systems on board the C-130J fleet that could have had fake components like chips, transistors, etc. “After getting the list, we insisted that all suspect systems be checked and replaced if counterfeit components are found. Among all parts sent till now, no fake ones have been found,” the official said.
The last batch of the systems, however, is still in the US and is likely to be returned shortly after checks. IAF officials have said the cause of the crash cannot be linked to counterfeit parts in the display system as they are not critical to flight safety and have multiple redundancies built in.
“A detailed investigation will go to the root of the reasons leading up to the crash but there is no question about the technical health of the aircraft. The aircraft was not faulty and all systems on board were functioning,” the official said.
The parties concerned have been directed to submit reports on the current status of construction.