Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully completed the maiden test flight of the Indian Air Force's (IAF) upgraded Jaguar Darin III aircraft at its facility in Bangalore.
Commenting on the test flight, HAL chairman Dr. R. K. Tyagi said: ''This is a significant moment for HAL as the upgrade will result in major operational improvement with regard to all weather air to ground, air to sea and air to air capabilities through incorporation of multimode radar.''
Incorporating re-engining and a change to higher capacity alternators, the Darin III upgrade is designed to transform Jaguar into a powerful IAF aircraft with an extended service life.
Upgrades include the addition of advanced avionics architecture, including a mission computer, engine and flight instrument system (EFIS), solid state digital video recording system (SSDVRS), solid state flight data recorder (SSFDR), additional functions in the inertial global positioning system (INGPS), autopilot, radar and radar warning receiver (RWR).
Additional upgrades include modern navigation capabilities, an electronic warfare and weapon delivery system, advanced man-machine interface with two smart multifunction display and head-up display (HUD).
HAL is currently upgrading the IAF's 100 Jaguar aircraft from the initial version, called Darin-1, as part of an INR31.3bn ($0.57bn) contract it received from the Indian defence ministry in 2008. The upgraded programme is scheduled for completion by December 2017.
The company has indigenously carried out the aircraft's system requirement capture, specification preparation, software, hardware, electrical, mechanical design and development at its Mission and Combat System Research and Design Centre (MCSRDC) in Bangalore.
HAL will also conduct the fleet compliance, whereas its Overhaul Division will be responsible for the aircraft's trial modification.
IAF's Software Development Institute (SDI) serves as the design partner for display software development and aircraft system testing establishment (ASTE), and is responsible for management of system specification preparation, data analysis and flight testing, along with HAL's Flight Test Centre.
Image: Indian Air Force's Jaguar Darin III aircraft taking-off during its maiden test flight. Photo courtesy of © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.