A high-level delegation from Britain led by British Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies recently visited India last week and proposed the upgradation of Indian Air Force’s (IAF) twin-engine Jaguar fighter jets. The British delegation held a meeting with Indian Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju.
At present, state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) undertakes the upgradation of Jaguars which will keep them in service till 2020. According to sources, the British delegation has conveyed to India that it can overcome problems related to licensed production of Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer at HAL and help in their upgradation.
The new Jaguar fighter jets will be incorporated with a new head down display capable of displaying a digital moving map, forward looking infra-red (FLIR) or video imagery. A new Sextant MFD 66 active matrix liquid crystal display will also replace the current projected map display. Another feature is the new video-based HUD camera and a multi-channel digital video color recorder which will allow the HUD, moving map display and other imagery to be recorded simultaneously. Navigational accuracy will be enhanced through the addition of an INS-RLG (SAGEM Sigma 95) and a Terrain Reference Navigation System (TRNS) is likely to be added. Another striking incorporation is of the new Open Systems Architecture Mission Computer (OSAMC) system which will carry out the mission computing and display functions. An ELTA-built airborne self-protection jammer and an indigenous radar warning receiver (RWR) will be installed.
India is incorporating indigenously developed systems and technology in the Jaguar fighter jet.The stealth technology, developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), now is being incorporated on the 30 Jaguars being upgraded at HAL and it will be incorporated on the rest of the 139 Jaguars in phases. The stealth technology will enable the aircraft to escape detection by radar and reduce its signature to ground-based radar systems by up to 90 percent. Besides that, the communications and radio navigation systems are being built by HAL’s Hyderabad divisions while and the mission computer is being provided by the DRDO. HAL and DRDO have also joined hands to create software for the upgrades indigenously.
As for the international support for carrying out the Jaguar production and upgradation, a number of significant joint ventures and firms are supplying services and equipment. Thales of France is supplying autopilot systems for the Jaguar and Rafael of Israel is supplying laser designator pods. Elta Electronics Industries Limited of Israel is supplying a radar and electronic countermeasures besides the airborne self-protection jammer. Smiths Industries Aerospace, a leading transatlantic aerospace systems and equipment company, and HAL are jointly designing and developing the OSAMC system.
In Septemebr 2008, HAL completed the first phase of the upgrade programme for the Jaguar deep-penetration strike aircraft of IAF. The upgrade involved the installation of a new version of avionics, apart from other features which would make the planes more lethal in their assigned long-range, ground attack role. The main focus of the upgrade programme was to replace older avionics with a newer display attack ranging inertial navigation (Darin-3).