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Upgraded Jaguars flown successfully
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
Two of the upgraded prototypes of the country’s frontline fighter aircrafts, Jaguars have been flown successfully after the changes were carried out at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore. The two prototypes were flown successfully recently and the entire fleet is expected to be upgraded in the coming years.

According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials the HAL has upgraded two prototypes of the Jaguars to the satisfaction of the IAF. The two aircraft have also been successfully flown with the limited initial operation clearance having been achieved for the aircraft.

The Jaguar fighter aircraft would be undergoing a complete upgradation with the IAF having signed a contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for carrying out the required changes in the aircraft.

Sources here said the entire fleet of Jaguars, India has over 80 of these fighter aircrafts, would be upgraded to serve the country in the changed security scenario over the next decade or so. Not only would the avionics on board be upgraded to suit the requirements of the IAF fighter pilots but a change would also be made in the air frame of the aircraft to fit new armament pods.

The decision to upgrade the existing fleet of Jaguar fighter aircraft was taken after a study carried out by its manufacturers, the British Aerospace (BAE) systems found that the aircrafts were still fit to be in service for a few more years.

Engineers from the HAL were also part of the team, which carried out the study.

While the upgradation would be carried out in phases, it would be done in collaboration with the BAE systems.

However, recently experts had found fault in engines of just two Jaguar aircraft among its entire fleet, which had been brought to ground recently following a crash in Ambala on May 7.

As a result the Air Headquarters had ordered that Jaguar aircraft be ‘brought to ground’ for a complete check-up before they were cleared for flying again. The aircraft were cleared for flying one at a time, after a complete check by experts.

In fact after the clearance the endurance of the aircraft came under a scanner recently as four of the aircraft from the fleet flew all way from Ambala to Alaska to participate in Cope Thunder, 2004, exercises with the USAF.
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