The Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to acquire used SEPECAT Jaguar ground-attack aircraft from France, Oman, and the United Kingdom by the end of the year, Jane’s 360 reported.
The newly procured aircraft will be used for cannibalization to maintain sufficient spares for IAF’s ageing fleet of about 120 Jaguar IS/IB/IM aircraft.
France has earlier agreed to donate 31 Ex-French Air Force Jaguar airframes. The deal is not surprising as the platforms are not of much use to French Air Force. They can get rid of planes that will not survive in storage condition for a long time, and the government can expect more orders for military equipment from India. India has earlier signed a contract to purchase 36 Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets from France for a whooping $8.8 billion. The jets are expected to be delivered from next year.
Oman has consented to donate two airframes as well as eight Rolls-Royce Adour engines and 3,500 lines of spares for the platforms while the United Kingdom has offered two twin-seat Jaguar airframes and 619 lines of spares, capable of being restored to a fully serviceable condition.
The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) retired its SEPECAT Jaguar fleet in October 2014 after 37 years of service after replacing it with new U.S.-made F-16 aircraft. This left India as the only country in the world using Jaguars.
Approximately 60 of the Jaguars in IAF’s fleet will be modified to DARIN III (Display, Attack, Range and Inertial Navigation III) standard by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the rest will remain at DARIN II standard until they’re retired. The new DARIN III aircraft are equipped with Elta EL/M-2052 active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar.
The program also includes upgradation of aircraft’s missile-carrying capabilities as well as avionics that are expected to extend the aircraft’s life to 2050. The future upgrade is also expected to include replacing the Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engine with more powerful Honeywell F125N engines.