The Indian Air Force has shrugged off the plan to procure new engines for its Jaguar fighters due to steep costs. The plan to have new Honeywell F-125 engines and boost the power of 80 of the 116 Jaguar aircraft in service will now be discarded and the phasing out of aircraft will begin from 2023. Defence sources have stated that there is no immediate need of replacement however even if the Jaguars are flying with underpowered engines.
Phasing-Out Of Jaguars Fighter Jets
A senior defence source told The Indian Newspaper – Hindu that not only high costs have put the plan in jeopardy but the design and development of the engines will take six years which is too long a duration.
While the design and development will itself take six years, there would be more years needed to modify the aircraft and hence the proposal has been called off. The phasing-out of the Jaguar aircrafts will begin in 2023 with the earlier variants and by 2038 the phase-out plan will be completed.
India is one of the last users of the Jaguar aircraft and in recent years IAF has acquired older Jaguar frames form several nations to cannibalise them and maintain its fleet. France and Oman are two nations which gave India the Jaguar frames for absolutely no cost.
Jaguars Are Getting DARIN-III Upgrades
The HAL is upgrading 56 Jaguars to DARIN-III standard which will include a new radar, electronic warfare controls, new attack system, new avionics and much more. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2024 as per an official source. The first Jaguar with these latest upgrades is ready and has already completed corporate flying last week.
Also, the Indian Air Force will soon receive the first batch of the French Rafale jets which will overhaul the strike capabilities of the IAF and will bolster India’s national security given the state of art abilities of Rafale jets.