IAF to fly Jaguars for next 10 yrs

IAF to fly Jaguars for next 10 yrs

As many as 31 aircraft would come from France free of cost with India providing only the shipping charges.

Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Friday said the force wanted to fly the Jaguar fighter aircraft at least for another 10 years by cannibalising the spares from other Jaguar jets, which India will receive free of cost from other countries.

“We are currently doing obsolescence management for the Jaguar aircraft. How can we do it? We have to get spare parts from other countries. Some are expensive while others are quite cheaper. We have 118 Jaguar aircraft of late, and we expect them to be operative for the next 10 years,” Dhanoa told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

As many as 31 aircraft would come from France free of cost with India providing only the shipping charges. The same is true for 2 aircraft, few engines and spares that will come from Oman. But the defence ministry will pay nearly Rs 2.8 crore to the UK to get another two twin-seater Jaguar aircraft along with spares.

Components and systems from these aircraft would be extracted — cannibalisation in aviation parlance — to run the Indian squadrons for several years.

Dhanoa said that the IAF was revamping 117 Jaguar ground attack fighters that have become obsolete.

India is the only country that still flies the Jaguars. Its two original users, Royal Air Force and French Air Force, replaced their Jaguars with Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale respectively.

The IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited are yet to finalise a programme to upgrade five Jaguar squadrons (80 aircraft) with a new engine and installing DARIN-3 (Display Attack Ranging Inertial Navigation-III) navigational-attack system in the old aircraft.

The modification is meant for transforming the ancient jet into a modern fighting machine with a head-up display, all-glass cockpit, advanced avionics, auto-pilot and new weapon systems. The IAF inducted 40 Jaguars from the UK beginning 1979, followed by licensed production of another 150 aircraft by HAL.

Once these modifications are carried out, the fighter aircraft's life would be extended by more than 10 years.

The IAF is way below its sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons and a large number of its combat fleet is old MiG aircraft that are being phased out.