Tag Archives: Sepecat

Impressive Indian stop over in Portugal

Portugal welcomed some rare birds last week, as four Indian Sukhoi Su-30 Flankers and four Sepecat Jaguars landed at Beja airbase. The fighter jets were accompanied by two Ilyushin Il-78 tanker aircraft and two C-17 Globemasters whole on their long, long way to Alaska for exercise Red Flag.

India is sending the aircraft plus a contingent of 150 personnel to the prestigious military exercise within the framework of military cooperation between New Delhi and Washington. The last time India attended Red Flag was in 2008. Then, only Su-30s were involved and the stage was not Alaska, but Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
India_Su30_4India_Su30

Red Flag

Red Flag features aircraft from the US and other NATO countries and provides an opportunity for the Indian Air Force to train  in complex war environments. Aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and other fighter jet will be involved and thus provide a good experience for Indian Jaguar pilots and Su-30 crews in particular.

The ferry of the aircraft from India to Alaska was a complex operation. The jets and their support aircraft routed via Bahrain, Egypt, France and Portugal, from where they crossed the Atlantic to Canada before finally arriving in Alaksa for Red Flag.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Jorge Ruivo – www.cannontwo.blogspot.pt
Featured image (top):  An Indian Air Force Jaguar on finals at Beja. (Image ©
Rafael Vieira)

India_il78India_C17Foto8

India: “Only half the combat fleet operational”

On paper the Indian Air Force has roughly 700 fighter and strike jets, but in reality slightly only about half are operational raising concern about how effective the military of the 2nd largest population in the world is being protected.

The average aircraft availability measured over the entire year is about 50 to 55 percent, Defence officials have admitted towards the parliamentary committee on defence matters. About 20 percent of those jets are simply grounded because of the lack of spare parts, but Indian Air Force sources say that concerns mostly the older Soviet-era jets like the approx. 120 MiG-21 Bisons, 80 MiG-27 Bahadurs and 130 to 135 SEPECAT Shamshers (Jaguars).

An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)
An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Indian MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI

What the status is on the 60 to 65 MiG-29 Baaz’s and the 56 Mirage 2000 Vajras and the almost 230 Sukhoi Su-30MKI is not fully known – but the Airheadsfly.com article on the IAF MiG-29 is still one of the best read pieces on our web. In 2014 the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet had huge problems and despite the issue has been addressed somewhat the India’s Auditor General still called the matter “unresolved” in August 2015.

Ilyushing/Beriev A-50 AWACS

The government watchdog authority also slashed the reputation of the Air Force’s three Ilyushin/Beriev A-50 AWACS aircraft. Lack of trained aircrew, lack of bases to operate from, lack of funds and resources for the aircraft maintenance have seriously hampered the effectiveness of the airborne radar and intelligence gathering platforms.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): An Indian Air Force MiG-21 (Image © Indian Air Force)

India: maritime Jaguar Darin III makes first flight, again

Great news for aviation enthousiasts who love great designs: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) just sent its first SEPECAT/HAL Jaguar Darin III upgraded maritime strike aircraft with improved features airborne last week.

The flight – lasting 15 minutes on 25 March 2015 – was confirmed by Indian officials to OneIndia, with the Indian news channel publishing pictures as well. HAL itself has not released any official footage yet.

Despite the joy of this flight, the Darin III program – short for display, attack, range and inertial navigation – has hit significant delays. A maritime strike Jaguar Darin III already went airborne at Bengaluru in November 2012, but the Indian Air Force was reportedly unhappy with the improvements. A new schedule was put in place and the upgraded Jaguar is now aiming for its final test evaluations at the end of 2017.

Confirmed flights
The IAF has assigned three Jaguars to the modification test program: a strike, a maritime strike and a training version of the Jaguar. With last weeks flight the maritime strike version made two confirmed flights, the standard strike version has made four flights so far, while the trainer hasn’t been airborne yet.

The Darin III gives the Jaguar a new mission computer, developed by HAL, as well as better radar functions. The cockpit will see the installation of two multifunctional displays, while the aircraft’s weapon, navigation and electronic warfare systems will be improved as well. Moreover, the Jaguars are getting a new engine.

An initial batch of 60 Jaguars is planned to undergo the Darin III upgrade as soon as the test and evaluation is done. But more might follow. The Indian Air Force has 100 to 115 operational strike and maritime strike versions of the Jaguar on strength, plus 30 operational trainers.

Need a light? This Jaguar GR3A kicks in the reheat at RAF Coltishall in March 2006. It's another example of a fuel to noise converter at work. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
Less then a year before retirement this Royal Air Force Jaguar was very much alive and kicking at RAF Coltishall in March 2006. The Jaguar lives on in India (Image © Elmer van Hest)

SEPECAT
The SEPECAT Jaguar was designed and developed in the late 1960s by Breguet of France and British Aerospace of the United Kingdom, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited constructing the strike aircraft under license. More than 540 have been built. The French Air Force retired the type in 2005 in favour of the new Dassault Rafale. London forced the Royal Air Force to stop flying the type in April 2007, causing a shortfall in the strike capabilities of the RAF that haven’t been quite replaced yet even though Eurofighter Typhoons have entered service in numbers.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: An Indian Air Force (IAF) 14th Squadron SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 Shamser in 2004 (Image © Staff Sergeant Mathew Hannen / US Air Force)