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Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on Thursday announced it had successfully carried out the maiden flight of the avionics upgraded Jaguar aircraft ‘Darin III’.
“This is a significant moment for us as the upgrade will result in major operational improvement with regard to all-weather air-to-ground, air-to-sea and air-to-air capabilities through the incorporation of the multi-mode radar,” said R K Tyagi, Chairman, HAL. Darin III upgrade, with re-engining and its change over to higher capacity alternators can make Jaguar one of the most potent aircraft in the arsenal of the IAF with an extended life-span.
The total design from system requirement capture, specification preparation, software, hardware, electrical, mechanical design and development has been done indigenously by the HAL at its Mission & Combat System Research & Design Centre (MCSRDC) and aircraft trial modification is done by HAL’s overhaul division. The fleet compliance will also be carried out by HAL. SDI of IAF is the design partner for display software development and Aircraft System Testing Establishment (ASTE) under the leadership of Air Vice Marshal Raghunath Nambiar takes care of system specification preparation, data analysis and flight testing along with Flight Test Centre of HAL.
The upgrade incorporates new avionics architecture including mission computer (MC), engine and flight instrument system (EFIS), solid state digital video recording system (SSDVRS), solid state flight data recorder (SSFDR) and additional functions in inertial global positioning system (INGPS), autopilot, radar and RWR. The upgrade covers modern navigation, EW and weapon delivery system with INGPS using primary and reversionary modes, state-of-the-art, man-machine interface (near glass cockpit) with two smart multi-function display and head-up display.
India is in the process of upgrading its 100-odd Jaguar planes in the IAF fleet under a 2008 contract signed with HAL for upgrading the aircraft from the initial version of the system called Darin-1. It signed a deal with the US for re-engining of Jaguar fleet whereby Jaguars will get Honeywell’s F125IN 43.8 kilo Newton (KN) thrust turbofan engine.
The cost of upgrade of Jaguar, inducted first in 1979, was initially estimated to cost Rs 3,113.02 crore (about $700 million) and all the aircraft are expected to be upgraded by December 2017.