The Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) is an organisation under Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. This organisation is the regulatory authority for Quality Assurance and final acceptance of Military Aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Aero Engines, Airborne Systems, Avionics, Armaments, Consumables (FOL Stores), Allied Ground Systems and Missiles during Design & Development, Production, Repair, Modification and Overhaul/ Repair at various Defence PSUs, Ordnance Factories and Private Firms.It also ensures QA requirements during acquisition of defence aeronautical stores by Ministry of Defence as per the provision of DDP & DPM.

The primary role of DGAQA is to provide QA coverage during various phases of the production/services viz Design & Development, Production, Up-gradation etc and to assure that the same meet the customers’ expectations. DGAQA is also involved in standardisation activities. The other services rendered are Capacity Assessment & Registration of Firms, Defect Investigations and Technical Consultancy to the Users, Ministry of Defence, Production and Design & Development Agencies.

The establishments under this organisation are spread all over the country in Defence Public Sector Undertakings, Ordnance Factories, DRDO Labs and Private Firms.

DGAQA is also the nodal agency for Missile System Quality Assurance Agency (MSQAA) and Strategic Systems Quality Assurance Group (SSQAG).

Challenges to DGAQA

With increasing necessity to develop and manufacture sophisticated defence equipment indigenously, the future role of public and private sectors in supply of aeronautical store is bound to grow. India’s military aircraft industry is acquiring depth and spread, posing a significant challenge to the QA function in general and regulatory organizations like DGAQA in particular. The task of DGAQA is becoming more elaborate and challenging in view of the large number of associated work centres, spread far and wide, necessitating a large parallel effort to monitor QA systems, not only large in numbers but also new to the rigours of practices in aviation section.

The future is therefore very challenging. That the quality will have to be major common denominator of our wares makes it a compulsory course to adopt. We are fully geared up to face these challenges of the future, in a role supportive to the premier organizations of the country, making a headway into this internationally competitive field, in pursuit of our national premier military aeronautical organizations of the country, ,making a headway into this internationally competitive field, in pursuit of our national aeronautical ambitions.

Quality Assurance coverage

During production & overhaul

This is a major area of activity of DGAQA. The emphasis is on ensuring that the requisite Quality Assurance (QA) system is in place at all production / overhaul agencies. The compliance in respect of this requirement is being regularly monitored through critical to quality inspection stages as well as quality audits and surprise checks. Quality Assurance coverage is being provided during Production/Overhaul/Repair/Up-Gradation work being carried out at various work centres comprising of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) viz., HAL, BEL, ITI, BDL, MIDHANI, ECIL etc, Ordnance Factories, DRDO Labs and Private Firms

During development as a force multiplier

During Design & Development DGAQA participates actively in the Design & Development projects undertaken by DRDO labs, Ordnance Factories, Defence PSUs and Private Firms. The involvement ranges from the early stages of development activity such as finalisation of QRs, PDR/ CDR, test/inspection schedules, evaluation of prototypes, Defect Investigation and flight trials in order to ensure conformance to quality and reliability requirements.

DGAQA is presently associated with major national development projects such as Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Light Utility Helicopters (LUH), Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Light Combat LCH, HTT, SARAS A/C (Military Version), IJT, AWACS and RUSTOM-II and many other electronic warfare and avionic projects.

For Missiles

Missile Systems Quality Assurance Agency (MSQAA)

The Missile Systems Quality Assurance Agency (MSQAA) is established in 1990 under Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production as the designated Quality Assurance Agency for providing QA coverage during design, development and productionisation of the indigenous missiles and associated ground systems that are designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). MSQAA also provides QA coverage during indigenous production of missiles and associated ground systems undertaken through Joint Ventures (JVs) or Transfer of Technology (ToT) with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). MSQAA functions under the administrative control of the Director General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA). The technical Headquarters of MSQAA headed by a Director is located at DRDL Hyderabad. The MSQAA is formed with experienced QA personnel drawn from the three participating QA organisations viz; Director General Quality Assurance (DGQA), DGAQA and Director General Naval Armament Inspection (DGNAI), in equal proportions.

The IGMDP projects for which MSQAA provides QA coverage include

Trishul Short-range surface-to-air missile
Akash Medium-range surface-to-air missile
Nag Third-generation anti-tank guided missile
Prithvi Short-range surface-to-surface missile

The non - IGMDP projects for which MSQAA provides QA coverage include

BrahMos Supersonic anti-ship cruise missile
Astra Active radar homing beyond visual range air-to-air missile
LRSAM Long range surface-to-air missile
MRSAM Medium range surface-to-air missile
SRSAM Short range surface-to-air missile
Helina Air version of Nag (7Km range) launched from ALH
PAD Prithvi Air Defence
AAD Advance Air Defence
HSTDV Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle
Nirbhay Long range cruise missile

Some of the prime production agencies for the missile systems (where MSQAA is involved) are M/s Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), M/s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), M/s Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), M/s Electronic Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), M/s BrahMos Aerospace and other Indian private industries like M/s Godrej & Boyce, M/s Larsen & Toubro, TCPL etc.

Apart from providing QA coverage to missile systems during design, development and production stage, MSQAA also associates during failure investigation, user trials and flight campaigns undertaken by DRDO. MSQAA is further involved during life cycle support management of missiles and systems during upgradation / improvement, repair and major modification of missiles at Users’ inventory.

Considering the role and responsibilities undertaken by MSQAA, the scope of work of MSQAA is being extended in future, to include all imported missile systems during induction stage for tri-Services.

Strategic System Quality Assurance Group (SSQAG)

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the following with regard to Strategic Systems Quality Assurance Group (SSQAG):

  • Formation of a Strategic Systems Quality Assurance Group (SSQAG) under the functional and administrative control of Director General, Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) under Department of Defence Production.
  • Sanction of 62 posts of various grades for SSQAG for providing the Quality Assurance (QA) coverage for the strategic missile systems and futuristic systems being designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) including under Joint Venture, Limited Series Production (LSP) and during Series Production.
  • Authorisation of SSQAG to provide Quality Assurance coverage to all strategic missile systems including ground systems designed and developed by DRDO . SSQAG will also be responsible for Quality Assurance for maintenance and major repairs/refurbishment during in-service surveillance over the life cycle of systems.

The SSQAG became operational during Apr 2010 with the posting an officer of the rank of Maj General as Addl Director General SSQAG. The SSQAG has its Headquarters at Hyderabad and is co-located at ASL Lab of DRDO. The other work centres at present are at Pune, Chandigarh, Delhi and Bangalore.

Officers to SSQAG are to be provided by the 03 QA organisation viz. DGQA, DGAQA and DGNAI on equal share basis (i.e. 21 officers from each organisation).

The selection of officers to SSQAG is done by a screening committee chaired by Secy(DP) with SA to RM, DGQA,DGAQA DGNAI & Rep HQ SFC as members. The selection also involves interview of officers by a committee chaired by SA to RM with DGQA, DGAQA DGNAI & Rep HQ SFC as members.

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