Mirage 2000H, MiG-29UPG, Jaguar DARIN III - Medium Multirole Aircraft of IAF

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Jaguar is IAF’s first fighter with cutting-edge AESA radar

Jaguar strike aircraft number JM 255, parked in a Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) hangar in Bengaluru, is superficially similar to the other 600-odd fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet. In fact, it is unique in IAF history as the first Indian fighter to be integrated with an AESA – or active electronically scanned array – radar.

Ten test flights have been conducted since JM 255 first flew with the Israeli Elta EL/AESA 2032 radar on August 10 and pilots are pleased with its performance. If, as expected, the IAF gives its go-ahead, the Jaguar fleet will be the first of the IAF’s seven fighters to field AESA radar.

AESA enjoys battle-winning advantages over legacy “mechanically steered array” (MSA) radar. In the latter, the radar array physically moves, beaming out a signal that reflects off enemy aircraft.

In AESA radar, the beam shifts direction electronically, switching rapidly between multiple targets. AESA radar thus multi-tasks, tracking numerous enemy aircraft and ground targets and guiding missiles to them. Meanwhile, some of the array can radiate electro-magnetic pulses to jam enemy radios and radars. AESA radar thus multiplies a fighter’s combat capability and survivability.

“Elta is supplying the AESA radar at the same cost as it had contracted to supply MSA radars, three years ago. HAL’s facility at Hyderabad, which we set up to build the MSA radar, will now be upgraded to manufacture the AESA radar for the Jaguar”, says HAL chief, T Suvarna Raju.

Elta’s offer of its new AESA radar at no additional cost was a win-win: because it would be flight-tested on IAF aircraft, at India’s expense.

Further, with an AESA radar on the Jaguar, Elta hopes to be in pole position to supply another AESA radar that HAL is procuring for the Tejas Mark 1A, which is under development. Elta is competing with Thales and Saab for that order.

Elta’s AESA radar will be part of the indigenous DARIN 3 upgrade that HAL is integrating on 61 Jaguar fighters. Through successive DARIN upgrades – which allow Jaguar pilots to navigate hundreds of kilometres and strike targets with pinpoint accuracy – HAL has incrementally upgraded the Jaguar from a relatively inaccurate 1970s-era bomber to a highly accurate, multi-role combat aircraft.

Aerospace analysts underline the cost effectiveness of the Jaguar and Mirage 2000 upgrade programmes, compared with buying new fighters like the Rafale.

The AESA radar and DARIN 3 will complement other important upgrades the Jaguar is undergoing. As this newspaper reported on Thursday, HAL has been chosen to replace the Jaguar’s old, underpowered Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engine with more powerful Honeywell F-125IN engines.

HAL also confirms that the Jaguar’s obsolescent Matra Magic 550 missiles are being replaced by the longer-range, far superior Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), contracted with European missile firm, MBDA.

Of the IAF’s 121 Jaguar aircraft, 60 are already in DARIN 2 configuration and will be upgraded only later. The remaining 61, which are in DARIN 1 configuration, are being upgraded to DARIN 3.

Since the IAF cannot wait for Elta to begin supplying the EL/AESA 2032 radar, the first 20 Jaguars will undergo the DARIN 3 upgrade with Elta’s MSA radar. The remaining 41 will be fitted with AESA radars, when they start being supplied.

Touring HAL’s hangars, it is evident the DARIN 3 upgrade is on track. The base lines have already been established in three prototypes – one strike aircraft, one twin-seat trainer and one maritime variant Jaguar. The first “series production” Jaguar has begun its DARIN 3 upgrade. Nine more are in line.

DARIN upgrades began soon after the first Jaguars entered IAF service and began being built at HAL. DARIN 1 took some workload off the pilot by introducing a “head-up display” and “weapons aiming computation”, in which the pilot was prompted when to release his weapons.

DARIN 2 introduced a glass cockpit, with digital multi-function displays (MFDs) and a mission computer. Weapons release became a computer-generated function, with the aircraft guided by inertial navigation, with corrections provided in real time by the global positioning system (GPS).

Now DARIN 3 introduces a full-glass cockpit with “smart MFDs”. For the first time, the Jaguar will have radar and an electronic warfare suite – including jammers to divert hostile weapons and sensors. An advanced Radalt (radio altimeter) tells the pilot precisely how much above the ground he is flying – crucial for low-flying fighters like the Jaguar.
 

Sathya

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smestarz

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its a Strike aircraft and NOT A FIGHTER. It does not have fighting capability

Jaguar is IAF’s first fighter with cutting-edge AESA radar

Jaguar strike aircraft number JM 255, parked in a Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) hangar in Bengaluru, is superficially similar to the other 600-odd fighters in the Indian Air Force (IAF) fleet. In fact, it is unique in IAF history as the first Indian fighter to be integrated with an AESA – or active electronically scanned array – radar.

Ten test flights have been conducted since JM 255 first flew with the Israeli Elta EL/AESA 2032 radar on August 10 and pilots are pleased with its performance. If, as expected, the IAF gives its go-ahead, the Jaguar fleet will be the first of the IAF’s seven fighters to field AESA radar.

AESA enjoys battle-winning advantages over legacy “mechanically steered array” (MSA) radar. In the latter, the radar array physically moves, beaming out a signal that reflects off enemy aircraft.

In AESA radar, the beam shifts direction electronically, switching rapidly between multiple targets. AESA radar thus multi-tasks, tracking numerous enemy aircraft and ground targets and guiding missiles to them. Meanwhile, some of the array can radiate electro-magnetic pulses to jam enemy radios and radars. AESA radar thus multiplies a fighter’s combat capability and survivability.

“Elta is supplying the AESA radar at the same cost as it had contracted to supply MSA radars, three years ago. HAL’s facility at Hyderabad, which we set up to build the MSA radar, will now be upgraded to manufacture the AESA radar for the Jaguar”, says HAL chief, T Suvarna Raju.

Elta’s offer of its new AESA radar at no additional cost was a win-win: because it would be flight-tested on IAF aircraft, at India’s expense.

Further, with an AESA radar on the Jaguar, Elta hopes to be in pole position to supply another AESA radar that HAL is procuring for the Tejas Mark 1A, which is under development. Elta is competing with Thales and Saab for that order.

Elta’s AESA radar will be part of the indigenous DARIN 3 upgrade that HAL is integrating on 61 Jaguar fighters. Through successive DARIN upgrades – which allow Jaguar pilots to navigate hundreds of kilometres and strike targets with pinpoint accuracy – HAL has incrementally upgraded the Jaguar from a relatively inaccurate 1970s-era bomber to a highly accurate, multi-role combat aircraft.

Aerospace analysts underline the cost effectiveness of the Jaguar and Mirage 2000 upgrade programmes, compared with buying new fighters like the Rafale.

The AESA radar and DARIN 3 will complement other important upgrades the Jaguar is undergoing. As this newspaper reported on Thursday, HAL has been chosen to replace the Jaguar’s old, underpowered Rolls-Royce Adour 811 engine with more powerful Honeywell F-125IN engines.

HAL also confirms that the Jaguar’s obsolescent Matra Magic 550 missiles are being replaced by the longer-range, far superior Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM), contracted with European missile firm, MBDA.

Of the IAF’s 121 Jaguar aircraft, 60 are already in DARIN 2 configuration and will be upgraded only later. The remaining 61, which are in DARIN 1 configuration, are being upgraded to DARIN 3.

Since the IAF cannot wait for Elta to begin supplying the EL/AESA 2032 radar, the first 20 Jaguars will undergo the DARIN 3 upgrade with Elta’s MSA radar. The remaining 41 will be fitted with AESA radars, when they start being supplied.

Touring HAL’s hangars, it is evident the DARIN 3 upgrade is on track. The base lines have already been established in three prototypes – one strike aircraft, one twin-seat trainer and one maritime variant Jaguar. The first “series production” Jaguar has begun its DARIN 3 upgrade. Nine more are in line.

DARIN upgrades began soon after the first Jaguars entered IAF service and began being built at HAL. DARIN 1 took some workload off the pilot by introducing a “head-up display” and “weapons aiming computation”, in which the pilot was prompted when to release his weapons.

DARIN 2 introduced a glass cockpit, with digital multi-function displays (MFDs) and a mission computer. Weapons release became a computer-generated function, with the aircraft guided by inertial navigation, with corrections provided in real time by the global positioning system (GPS).

Now DARIN 3 introduces a full-glass cockpit with “smart MFDs”. For the first time, the Jaguar will have radar and an electronic warfare suite – including jammers to divert hostile weapons and sensors. An advanced Radalt (radio altimeter) tells the pilot precisely how much above the ground he is flying – crucial for low-flying fighters like the Jaguar.
 

_Anonymous_

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It's for spare parts, not for flying.
What one fails to understand is , the Jags were built by HAL , with the last FA delivered as late as 2006(?) . Why wasn't redundancy built into the programme ? Why didn't HAL manufacture the requisite spares and IAF maintain such an inventory ? Why are they forced to go hat in hand looking for handouts from GB , France , Oman , etc ?

Meanwhile PKS suggests that since the Super Sukhoi MLU is due , the existing AL-31 turbofans along with DARIN -3 be made available for our inventory of nearly 200+ MiG 23/27 ( whose airframes are still airworthy), thus mitigating our depleting squadrons problem , in view of the fact that the LCA -Mk2 would be joining the IAF in the late 2020's . Seems an optimal solution .

Your views ? @randomradio ; @Milspec ; @vstol Jockey
 

randomradio

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What one fails to understand is , the Jags were built by HAL , with the last FA delivered as late as 2006(?) . Why wasn't redundancy built into the programme ? Why didn't HAL manufacture the requisite spares and IAF maintain such an inventory ? Why are they forced to go hat in hand looking for handouts from GB , France , Oman , etc ?

We do have spares production and we make our own spares. But free Jaguars = free spares. We can simply cannibalise the jets and reduce the operating cost of the Jaguars by a huge margin.

Meanwhile PKS suggests that since the Super Sukhoi MLU is due , the existing AL-31 turbofans along with DARIN -3 be made available for our inventory of nearly 200+ MiG 23/27 ( whose airframes are still airworthy), thus mitigating our depleting squadrons problem , in view of the fact that the LCA -Mk2 would be joining the IAF in the late 2020's . Seems an optimal solution .

Your views ? @randomradio ; @Milspec ; @vstol Jockey

Not a good idea. We may have agreed on the configuration of the Super Sukhoi, but that doesn't mean the jets are available yet. The actual upgrade will take years to finish. Nothing should affect the spares and supply of our primary air dominance aircraft.

Our current plan for the air force:
LCA - 123
MCA - 201
Rafale - 36+36
MMRCA - 110+

That's 500+ jets already, that we have assurance of happening. So there is no need to go for upgrading obsolete jets.

And I doubt the Mig-27s are airworthy enough to receive expensive upgrades like the DARIN III.
 
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_Anonymous_

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Our current plan for the air force:
LCA - 123
MCA - 201
Rafale - 36+36
MMRCA - 110+

That's 500+ jets already, that we have assurance of happening. So there is no need to go for upgrading obsolete jets.

And I doubt the Mig-27s are airworthy enough to receive expensive upgrades like the DARIN III.



We've has this debate before . Yet all those projected nos are somewhere in the distant to not so distant future .

Let's consider your projections -

LCA - 123 ==> We're supposed to receive the entire 123 by 2025-26 timelines . Yet the FOC which was supposed to materialise by June has now been postponed to Dec. I won't even get into production hassles facing the Mk1 , not to mention there's yet no roadmap on the Mk1a.
MCA - 201 ==> Assuming we're referring to the Mk2 here , even if we see the SP variants by 2026-27 , it'd be nothing short of a miracle in which case the entire lot of 200 woukd materialise by 2035 timelines .
Rafale - 36+36 =>> Let's stick to 36 as of now . The other 36 is conditional to Modi returning to power .
MMRCA - 110+ ==> Please refer to the above statement . There would be 110 MMRCA but when would the procurement or MII happen ? That's the million dollar question .

As you see from the above , in the best case scenario , we'd be sitting pretty or be in a position of comfort in case the best case scenario materialises by 2035 ( by then the Jags / M2k/ MiG 29 's would be on the way out & if the AMCA doesn't happen , it's be deja vu all over again. I'm not getting into the obsolescence of the Su30MKI or the lack of FGFA for all these are subjects that belong to a different thread . )


I don't think there were structural issues with the MiG 27 but the engines were problematic . What PKS suggests is definitely worth a Dekko at Vayu Bhavan & the MoD.

If you'd like to comment @Milspec
 
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randomradio

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We've has this debate before . Yet all those projected nos are somewhere in the distant to not so distant future .

Let's consider your projections -

LCA - 123 ==> We're supposed to receive the entire 123 by 2025-26 timelines . Yet the FOC which was supposed to materialise by June has now been postponed to Dec. I won't even get into production hassles facing the Mk1 , not to mention there's yet no roadmap on the Mk1a.

It's all been worked out. There won't be any major problems once FOC of Mk1 is done.

MCA - 201 ==> Assuming we're referring to the Mk2 here , even if we see the SP variants by 2026-27 , it'd be nothing short of a miracle in which case the entire lot of 200 woukd materialise by 2035 timelines .

Yep. But we will continue taking Mk1A deliveries beyond 123 until MCA production begins.

Rafale - 36+36 =>> Let's stick to 36 as of now . The other 36 is conditional to Modi returning to power .

The other 36 will go through. RaGa won't need cheap tricks if he's already won. What he is doing now is just a cheap trick. For those who know how the process works, only tenders can become scam tainted, not GTG. GTGs are scam free.

MMRCA - 110+ ==> Please refer to the above statement . There would be 110 MMRCA but when would the procurement or MII happen ? That's the million dollar question .

2026+.

As you see from the above , in the best case scenario , we'd be sitting pretty or be in a position of comfort in case the best case scenario materialises by 2035 ( by then the Jags / M2k/ MiG 29 's would be on the way out & if the AMCA doesn't happen , it's be deja vu all over again. I'm not getting into the obsolescence of the Su30MKI or the lack of FGFA for all these are subjects that belong to a different thread . )

The idea is to start building up the fleet between 2027-32 period, until then the plan is to just keep the squadron numbers above 30.

As I have always said, we need 300 fighter jets in contracts over the next 5 years. So that's 123 LCAs, 72 Rafales and 110 MMRCA, total 305+. All three are now practically assured.

Before 2027, we will be losing 11 squadrons of jets while adding 12 squadrons, that's 2 MKIs, 4 Rafales and 6 LCAs. So we should have 34 squadrons at the minimum before the first MMRCA aircraft is delivered. The numbers will be made up once the MMRCA starts delivering. But we will be very comfortable by then because we will be receiving new jets as the old ones go out.

Also, you shouldn't forget that UCAVs and attack helicopters will complement the fighter fleet. A lot of missions that the fighters were supposed to do will be handed over to the other two types. We are talking about at least 100 UCAVs and 100 attack choppers by 2025.

I don't think there were structural issues with the MiG 27 but the engines were problematic . What PKS suggests is definitely worth a Dekko at Vayu Bhavan & the MoD.

It's already been tried. There were no takers for it.


And because of the current procurement plan I have mentioned above, we have no need for this circus and get more of our pilots killed. The sooner we get rid of the Migs, the better. If you are really looking for a stop gap measure, then a better option is to buy second hand Mig-29s and upgrade them to UPG. There is an offer to buy a squadron from Russia.
 

RISING SUN

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Though below article is about French airforce, however commonality is Mirage 2000 platform.
French Air Force successfully test fired BAT-120 GL laser-guided munition
In June 2018, a BAT-120 GL laser-guided lightweight munition prototype equipped with its guidance system was successfully fired for the first time from a French Air Force Mirage 2000D at the French defence ministry's Biscarrosse test range in Western France, Thales announced on July 30, 2018.
A Thales BAT-120 GL prototype fired from a French Air Force Mirage 200D fighter jet
(Credit: DGA)


The firing was the first opportunity to test the BAT-120 GL prototype guided by a trajectory correction system derived from the laser-guided rocket developed by Thales. The munition was launched from the aircraft and corrected its trajectory in flight as anticipated in the test protocol.

The BAT-120 GL is a lightweight (35 kg) munition that would provide forces with a highly effective precision-guided weapon ideally suited to modern conflict situations, particularly in urban environments. The key operational requirement is to reduce to a zero level the risk of collateral damage while increasing the weapon carriage capacity of combat aircraft This concept allows to take a larger number of ammunition than today with bombs from 250kg to 1000kg.

Testing of the BAT-120 GL prototype will continue shortly with a guided firing of a metric-precision munition.
French Air Force successfully test fired BAT-120 GL laser-guided munition
 
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A Person

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The main interest of the BAT-120 GL is that the BAT-120 without laser guidance was already integrated (so all the flight envelope opening and validation was already made long ago) while the laser guidance reuses the systems used for GBUs (so, again, no need for costly integration and certification). They just need to test the weapon in itself, not the whole weapon+aircraft system, so it was a very cost-effective approach to give a low-collateral precision weapon to the Mirage 2000.
For these reasons, it's highly likely that Mirage 2000 export customers could also make use of it, if they are interested, without costly integration for their own custom standards. (As long as their Mirage 2000 version isn't purely an air-to-air aircraft.)

But it's also for these reasons that the weapon hasn't been integrated on the Rafale: the original BAT-120 was never qualified on it, so it would require opening the flight envelope with it in all possible configurations (and with up to 6 bombs on the rack, there's a lot of aerodynamic configurations to validate). This might still happen later when the Mirage 2000 approach their retirement date and if the BAT-120 GL has proven itself a cheap and useful weapon, but it's not planned at the moment.