Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars

Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars

Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars
SEPECAT Jaguar

Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars

After Rafale splurge, a sensible Jaguar upgrade by Indian Air Force
?India upgrading 80 Jaguars for 1.5billion dollars
?Honeywell to supply engines, HAL to integrate them.
?IAF has 119 Jaguars at present

The Indian Air Force (IAF), after being criticised for spending $9.2 billion on 36 Rafale fighter aircraft, is closing in on a far more prudent deal

The rejuvenation of 80 aging Jaguar fighters into highly capable, multi-role, combat aircraft for a mere $1.5 billion or so.

This long-delayed project, which was resurrected last month, involves replacing the Jaguar’s underpowered engines.

Separately, the uprated fighter will get state-of-the-art avionics for striking ground targets more accurately, hitting maritime targets far out at sea, and winning aerial dogfights with enemy fighters.

For a decade, the Jaguar upgrade proposal has remained stalled on the issue of cost.

Honeywell was made responsible for “re-engining” the Jaguar, and the US firm quoted an unacceptable $2.5-3 billion for taking full responsibility for installing its new F-125IN engines in 80 Jaguars.

But now, breaking that logjam, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been nominated the lead integrator

while Honeywell has stepped back to the more restricted role of engine supplier.

HAL will buy F-125IN engines from Honeywell and install them in the Jaguars, replacing the current Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engines.

?Hitting air pockets

Of the 145 Jaguars that HAL built for the IAF, only 119 are currently flying, comprising six IAF squadrons of about 20 fighters each
IAF pilots joke that the Jaguar’s current engines are so underpowered that the fighter only gets airborne because the earth is round
HAL chief, T Suvarna Raju, claims his company can do the job more easily, and cheaply, than Honeywell, having built more than 145 Jaguars under license over the years.

“Installing the F-125IN requires 10-12 relatively minor modifications. HAL can handle this easily,” he said.

“The earlier tender stands withdrawn. In its place, HAL will take a quote from Honeywell for its engines and, after adding its own expenses, submit a ‘total project cost’.

Based on that figure, the defence ministry will sanction the project. The contract will now be between the IAF and HAL,” said Raju.

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Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars

The HAL chief says there will be no time-consuming competitive tendering since Honeywell is the only vendor. Rolls-Royce has declined to participate since they do not have an engine that meets the IAF’s specifications for the Jaguar.

Honeywell will require 36 months for the F-125IN engines to start rolling off the production line, but HAL wants to go ahead with engine integration, using two engines that Honeywell had built earlier when it was to have the lead role.

Raju says he recently traveled to Honeywell’s facility in Phoenix, Arizona

To “ensure that we benefit from several years of work they have already done on integrating the F-125IN onto the Jaguar.

We need to cut down on time and expense, and avoid re-inventing the wheel,” he points out.

Besides building two F-125 engines, Honeywell also bought a Jaguar airframe from the UK.

It remains to be seen whether the US firm will cooperate with HAL for mutual benefit, or demand financial compensation for the work it did earlier.

Readmore: India might issue tendor worth 16 billion dollars for 167 fighter jets

Indian Air Force upgrading 80 SEPECAT Jaguar for 1.5 billion dollars

The first indicator, say defence ministry sources, will be the terms that Honeywell demands supplying two engines to HAL – sale, rent, lease or gratis.

Of the 145 Jaguars that HAL built for the IAF, only 119 are currently flying

Comprising six IAF squadrons of about 20 fighters each.

Since 39 of these would complete their airframe lives by 2025-30

The IAF considers it uneconomical to re-engine these.

That leaves 80 Jaguars, whose service lives would be extended to 2035-40 with new engines.

With each of those fighters requiring two engines and an additional maintenance reserve of 40 engines

HAL would require 200 F-125IN engines from Honeywell.

Aerospace industry experts estimate a price of $5-6 million per engine

which would place Honeywell’s bill at a little over a billion dollars.

The remaining cost would be incurred in integrating the engines into the fleet.

With engine supply starting only three years from the contract date

substantial numbers of re-engined Jaguars would probably materialize only after five years, i.e. around 2024.

IAF pilots joke that the Jaguar’s current engines are so underpowered that the fighter only gets airborne because the earth is round  and its curvature makes the ground drop away beneath the moving aircraft.

Furthermore With the Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engines output (25 kiloNewtons of dry thrust and 37.5 kN with afterburners) being replaced by the F-125IN (27.7 kN of dry thrust and 43.8kN with afterburners)

Jaguar pilots believe they would have the last laugh.

(Source : Business-standard)

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