In a strategic move to enhance the maintenance of its fighter aircraft and helicopter fleet, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is considering the implementation of a “Shop In Shop” policy. This initiative aims to bolster the IAF’s maintenance capabilities by collaborating with the private sector, thereby optimizing resources and expertise.
The Shop In Shop system will involve private sector engineering and technical personnel working in close collaboration with IAF personnel at the 17 Base Repair Depots (BRDs) located across the country. These BRDs play a pivotal role in maintaining and repairing aircraft and helicopters, ensuring their operational readiness.
Each BRD specializes in the maintenance of specific aircraft types. For example, the BRD in Chandigarh focuses on helicopter maintenance, while the one in Nasik is responsible for servicing Sukhoi-30 and MiG-29 fighters. By engaging private sector experts, the IAF intends to alleviate the workload of its personnel and enhance the efficiency of maintenance operations.
Private sector personnel participating in the Shop In Shop initiative will contribute their expertise in various domains, including aircraft engines, electronics, and airframes. This collaboration not only aims to improve maintenance but also provides an opportunity for private sector professionals to receive training and hands-on experience within the military aviation sector.
The introduction of private sector collaboration is expected to result in a higher number of aircraft and helicopters being maintained in optimal flying condition. In the past, some Russian fighters, particularly the Sukhoi-30, faced maintenance challenges, leading to reduced serviceability levels. This new approach seeks to address such issues and ensure that a larger portion of the IAF’s fleet remains operational.