Big Boost for Indian Air Force! Rs 5000 Crore Will Be Invested to Upgrade Attacking Capabilities of Jaguar Fighter Jets

Enhancing firepower is not just about purchasing new equipment, it is equally about maintaining and upgrading existing equipment. The latest of such upgradation will be in the form of vastly improving the capabilities of the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft by equipping them with new engines. This is a deal worth over Rs 5,000 crore.

Indecision during the UPA rule has led to a severe shortage of fighter jet squadrons which may only grow more serious in the coming years. In such a situation, it is imperative to keep the existing jets equipped with latest weapons and technology. Even this deal was stuck for more than six years! The Modi government must be applauded for expediting this deal.

IAF’s sanctioned strength of fighter aircraft squadrons is 42, but it has been operating at a much lower strength due to delays in acquisition during UPA rule. This has depleted our squadron strength to 32.The air force has five squadrons of Jaguar planes.

“The stuck project is being revived and pushed by the Air Force. A number of sticky issues with Honeywell have been sorted out and it is expected that there will be some movement forward in the deal in the coming times,’a senior government official said.

The Jaguars are currently powered by Rolls-Royce Adour 804/811 engines. These will be replaced with Honeywell’s F-125N engine which will provide almost 1.5 times the power the existing engines provide. Around 100 Jaguar planes will be re-engined. They are deployed in Jamnagar, Gorakhpur and Ambala.

Upgraded and re-engined Jaguars can serve as a potent fighter jets. The government can meanwhile go about acquiring more jets from abroad and manufacturing the indigenous Tejas. By 2020, the IAF will have 32 fighter squadrons and 39 helicopter units after discounting the phasing out of 3 squadrons of MiG-21 jets.

The Congress government said in December 2011 that the complete upgradation of the Jaguars will be completed by December 2017. Unfortunately, national security has always been compromised by the Congress government. What should have been completed by now is beginning now.

Defence Minister N Sitharaman cleared procurement proposal of 240 bombs at cost of Rs 1254 Cr from M/s JSC Rosonboron Exports,Russia &procurement of 131 Barak Missiles&associated equipment,under option clause frm M/s Rafeal Advance Defence Systems Ltd,Israel,at a cost of Rs 460Cr

Vinayak Jain