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Vivek Singh asked: How is the future of Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA)? Is there a possibility of it being merged with some other department?

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  • Kishore Kumar Khera replies:: The Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) under Department of Defence Production (DDP), Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the regulatory authority for Quality Assurance (QA) and final acceptance of military aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), aero engines, airborne systems, avionics, armaments, consumables, allied ground systems and missiles during design & development, production, repair, modification and overhaul at various defence public sector undertakings, ordnance factories and private firms. It also performs QA function during the acquisition of defence aeronautical stores. DGAQA is also involved in standardisation activities, capacity assessment & registration of firms and defect investigations. DGAQA is also the nodal agency for Missile System Quality Assurance Agency (MSQAA) and Strategic Systems Quality Assurance Group (SSQAG).

    Practically, DGAQA is enmeshed with all military aviation-related activities from design and development to final delivery and even during their utilisation. With a greater emphasis on 'Make in India', the establishment of Defence Industrial Corridors (DIC), opening up of defence sector to private firms and need for a large number of aircraft for the Indian armed forces, the role of DGAQA is set to expand. However, translation of these policies on the ground has been slow and domestic aviation industry is yet to take off. Notwithstanding drawdown of combat aircraft squadrons in the Indian Air Force, assets for military aviation are set to grow and synchronous role expansion of DGAQA is inevitable.

    Ideally, QA teams and auditors ought to be independent of the organisation to be checked. Organisationally, this is a weak area as DGAQA is part of DDP, the department responsible for domestic production of military aviation assets. So there is a possibility of a conflict of interest. As and when domestic military industry picks momentum, the QA organisation will expand to cover all stages of production and then all subsets of QA in DDP i.e. Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), DGAQA and Directorate of Standardisation may be merged into an independent vertical in the MoD outside the purview of DDP for improved efficiency and accountability.

    Posted on December 30, 2019

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IDSA or of the Government of India.