The CAG report also noted that the upgradation of Medium Lift Mi-17 Helicopters, proposed in 2002 to overcome their “operational limitation”, could not be achieved even after 18 years.

“As a result, these helicopters were flying with limited capability, thus compromising operational preparedness during these years,” it said.

The CAG further said that due to poor planning by the Ministry of Defence and indecision at various stages of procurement, it took 15 years to enter into the upgradation contract of 90 Mi-17 helicopters with an Israeli company — in January 2017.

The audit also states that while the contracted delivery of these upgraded helicopters had to begin July 2018 and was to be completed by 2024, 56 of these helicopters, even after upgradation, would be left with less than two years of life and would be phased out by 2024.