The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in India has said that Indian naval air combat operational capabilities have deteriorated considerably due to unsatisfactory performance of existing avionics.

In its report presented to parliament, the CAG said the INS Viraat navy aircraft carrier and the naval fighter aircraft fleet were on the brink of retirement due to their ages and maintenance requirements.

INS Viraat, the only carrier that the Indian Navy operates, was not in operation from March 2008 to August 2009 following special refit and repairs to extend its life to 2012, the CAG said.

The Sea Harrier fighter aircraft, the navy’s only combat aircraft to be deployed on INS Viraat, had either crashed or had been rendered ineffective due to inadequate performance of the fire control radars.

The missiles, bombs and the 30mm guns on the aircraft were all obsolete, the report said.

In December 2009, the navy received four MiG-29 aircraft to be deployed on INS Vikramaditya, but the carrier will not join the Indian fleet until late 2012.