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IAF set to shelve Jaguar engine upgrade, could buy more Su-30 MKIs instead

Jaguar engines have seen a 15-30% reduction in thrust, and the cost of the upgrade is too high. One Sukhoi can perform the same role as two Jaguars.

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New Delhi: The Indian Air Force is set to shelve its plan for an engine upgrade of the Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft due to the high cost involved. Instead, it could go in for additional Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs to replace the aircraft that will be grounded, ThePrint has learnt.

Top sources in the defence establishment said the Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engines of the 1980s vintage twin-engine aircraft have seen 15-30 per cent reduction in thrust. This means the Jaguar cannot carry its full load.

The IAF had planned to go in for an engine upgrade and had selected US firm Honeywell’s F-125IN engines. But sources termed the Jaguar upgrade programme as being an awkward state of affairs.

“The price quoted by Honeywell and the HAL for ‘re-engining’ is just too high. For the price of two such upgrades, we can get one basic Rafale,” a source said.

Currently, the IAF operates a total of six squadrons of the Jaguar. However, in actual strength, there are only five squadrons, as the sixth is not a complete squadron.

Avionics upgrade won’t help

The Jaguar is already undergoing an avionics upgrade — from Darin-I to Darin-III standard — but this programme is seven years behind schedule.

“The Darin-III upgrade is all about avionics and a better cockpit system. However, the problem is with the engines. Since the thrust factor is coming down, the aircraft is already flying with lower load during peacetime operations as a precautionary measure,” a source said.

Sources added that there would come a time when aircraft would be grounded as and when their engine thrust comes below a specific point, as it would put the pilots’ lives at risk.

IAF pilots have a morbid joke among themselves that the Jaguar’s current engines are so underpowered that in case of one engine failing, the second takes the aircraft to the crash site, not back to safety.

More Sukhois

A source said the plan to procure more Sukhois was being considered because it could fulfil a similar role.

“One plan is to order more Su-30 MKIs to replace those fighters that would be grounded. As far as role is concerned, one Sukhoi can play the same role as two Jaguars,” the source said.

“We can’t really afford to ground the entire fleet if the engines become a problem. If we do that, our fighter squadron strength will come down to that of Pakistan. Not to forget that out of those 25 squadrons, we still have some of ageing MiGs.”

Also read: ‘Stage set for induction of Su-30 jets fitted with BrahMos missile, final test soon’


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  1. This article is suspect , they have used the Mig21 picture from my relative personal site WITHOUT approval or any “special arrangement”. Article is a fictional piece of analysis and proves NOTHING.

  2. Pakistan ka koi bhi Aircraft shoot down nhi howa aur na hi Pakistan ny Indian k khilaf F16 Aircraft use kia. yeh Indian jhoot bolty hain. Pakistan ny JF17 Thunder use kia aur Indian k 2 Aircraft shoot down kiye. Indian Media jhoot bolta hy.

  3. India should buy 10 squadrons of F-35 stealth fighter from Trump. It is cheaper than Rafale. Jaguar car is good but not plane.

  4. IAF have no guts how to fly….why you are now blah blah on tha abinandan failuar clerification?everyone know about it you are more engange with bollywood make fool proof story to change truth with fake illusions…reality is that the abinandan hit by paf

  5. The Jaguar was introduced in 1973. IAF received its first Jaguar in March 1981. lt would have performed its ‘deep penetration’ role well in the past, but the design is over 50 years old.
    France retired their fighters in 2005 and UK in 2007. India is the only country that still has it in service.

  6. If iaf should go for 83 tejas and 114 mmrca means nearly (4+7) squadron of air craft than additional batch of su 30mki and mig 29s (2) squadron is also on the way that means nearly 12-13 squadron will be add in next 5-7 year which will replace migs and jaguar and also amca and tejas mk2 r on the way so I think it will get better by 10 year.

  7. More rafale, or F-35 should be targeted for instead of upgrading ancient aircraft which are a danger to our pilots. But time is also a factor and slow delivery of rafale is also a concern. It should be taken up urgently and on high priority. Subsidies for social programmes are not so important as the defence chinks.

  8. IAF should go for at least six a squadrons of mig 35 , it is proven , reliable , 4++ generation aircraft , & then we have mmrca 2 & tejas mk1 coming.

    • Mmrca is dead. It should be evident after partial fulfill deal of Rafale. Mig 35 is just remodelled mig 29 with same stupid old smoky R33 engine used in Jf17.

  9. Jaguars perform better in low level strike as compared to SU 30 MKI. It will be better option to phase it out slowly by first phasing out those purchased directly. The jaguars manufactured in India has along time to go with Darin III upgradation. IAF has time to look into the substitute for Jaguars.

  10. India should develop inndeginous 4.5 generation Tejas fighter buy Rafael or Grippen aircraft or joint development of f21 fighter plane by joint venture with USA instead taking faulty less effective Russian aircraft

  11. IAF should immediately go for 36 more Rafale as induction of Tejas is slow. Adding more SU 30 will bring same condition as in case of MiG 21. Mean time procurement of 10 squadron of MMCA /AMCA should in progress and should be completed by next 4 years.

  12. Why not buying Tejas Aircraft…As it is 4th gen. Aircraft and can perform all tasks.also the future upgrade will be much cheaper and same time it will give our home industry a push.

    • It cannot perform all tasks as the jaguar, as deep penetration/bombing or carrying nukes etc. Tejas is a toy for combat only like the mig-21.

  13. The present critical need is to increase our fighter force. It’s not about jaguar or su-30 mki, it’s about replenishment of our depleting fighter fleet. So out current best bet is to order More Su-30mki,Mig-35, and rafales. We have the necessary infrastructure and engineering capabilities for all these fighters. Just order more kits of these jets. Also we can always get additional second hand top rated jets like Mirage-2000-5/9 from friendly airforce who are retiring it or replacing it like Qatar/France/UAE etc.

  14. All these were cause of buying Agasta westland helicopters for politicians to fly around for flood over view and electioneering programs. Also not to forget the kick backs to near and dear. And oh.. they also reduced the qualification for flying altitude to fit Agasta in scheme. All the cost of national security.

  15. It is not clear how a Su 30 MKI, primarily an air dominance fighter, could perform the role of a Jaguar, which is deep penetration low flying bomber, particularly for nuclear strategic force. And if this is indeed the case, why this wisdom did not dawn on IAF before? Of course, with availability of Rafale, Jaguar will get marginalized in due course. If IAF wants to order more Su-30 MKI, it indeed makes a sense on its own. If IAF does not wish to pursue engine upgradation due to its high costs, it is fine as a stand alone decision but let us not mix this with ordering more Su 30 MKIs.

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