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September 10, 2012

More teeth for Jaguar: Nearly 120 of the Indian Air Force jets are being modernized

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has lit the afterburners to make its Jaguars fighting fit for modern warfare and increase their service life.
The Jaguars, the only aircraft with the IAF capable of carrying nuclear weapons other than the Mirage-2000s, are being fitted with autopilots, next generation avionics and lethal armaments under an ambitious modernisation programme that will see the fighters flying well after 2030.
Nearly 120 Jaguars are being modernised. So far, the IAF has procured autopilots for 55 Jaguars and talks for 95 more, which includes spare autopilots, are underway, according to information shared by the government in Parliament.
The upgradation of the Ambala-based fighter jets, in service for more than four decades, is being carried out by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at a cost of more than Rs 3,000 crore.

Autopilots would lessen pilot workload, freeing them from physically flying the jet during long flights though, in an ultimate test of IAF top guns, six Jaguars flew all the way to Alaska for a joint exercise with the US Air Force in 2004.
The government is also reviving a plan to re-engine the aircraft with a more powerful powerplant. The IAF feels the Jaguars, powered by Rolls Royce Adour-811 turbofan engines, are underpowered, and wants a more powerful engine for the fighters.
But its hunt for a new power-plant has not been easy. In 2010, its bid for more than 250 turbofans for the Jaguars could not take off as one of the contenders – Rolls Royce, which offered its upgraded Adour MK-821 engine – backed out leaving only Honeywell’s F124IN engine in the fray.
The Indian government prefers to avoid single-vendor bids in military acquisitions.
The Jaguar’s cockpit is going to completely transform. It’s going to turn all glass. There will be digital MFDs (multifunction displays) replacing the traditional analog gauges and dials, and pilots will have fly-by-wire controls.

Mailonline India /Dailymail

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