Rolls-Royce has yet to receive any formal word from the Indian ministry of defence in regard to media reports that it has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation probe alleged irregularities in the supply of aero engines from 2007 to 2011.
“We are awaiting clarification from the authorities in India,” says Rolls-Royce. “We have made clear that we will cooperate with the regulators and have been explicit that we will not tolerate misconduct of any sort."
Although reports citing defence ministry officials have been circulating for two days, neither the ministry of defence nor the CBI has made a formal announcement about the allegations or an investigation.
Reports, meanwhile, have emerged saying that New Delhi has suspended Hindustan Aeronautics’ (HAL) “repair and overhaul” contracts involving R-R engines. If true, this could impact the readiness of a number of Indian air force types, such as the Embraer Legacy 600, EMB-145, and Sepecat Jaguar – all of which are powered by R-R engines.
Sources at Indian airframer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) have confirmed to Flightglobal, however, that it had received allegations about the issue. After conducting internal investigations it decided to refer the matter to the defence ministry and CBI.
The 2007-2011 timeframe coincides with the license production of R-R Adour Mk 871 engines by HAL for the BAE Systems Hawk Mk 132 advanced jet trainers (AJT) in use by the Indian air force and navy. In 2010 R-R received an order worth £200 million ($335 million) to provide engines for an additional 57 Hawk AJTs purchased by New Delhi.
It is far from clear where the R-R situation is heading. Nonetheless, the news will serve to exacerbate concerns about the viability of New Delhi’s defence procurement processes, which are believed to suffer from a severe lack of transparency and accountability.