Murphy's Law: Old Reliable Keeps Flying

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July 24, 2008: India has selected a local firm (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) to upgrade the electronics in 68 of its  Jaguar attack aircraft. The avionics upgrade (display attack ranging inertial navigation, or Darin-3, for short) will make these older (20-25 years) Jaguars competitive with more recent models. Many Indian Jaguars have already been updated to handle laser and other smart bombs. The Darin-3 upgrade for each aircraft will cost about $900,000.

The 11 ton Jaguar is a single seat jet that carries two 30mm cannon, and up to 4.5 tons of bombs and missiles. While capable of supersonic speed (1,500 kilometers an hour), most of the time it moves at a little over half that speed. Sorties average about 90 minutes each. India has found the two seat trainer versions useful for complex attack missions, where the second seat is occupied by a weapons systems operator.

The French-British design began as a jet trainer that could also do ground attack. Ultimately, Jaguar proved to be much better as a combat aircraft. India bought over 200 of them, building most of them in India under license. So far, 30 have been lost to accidents, but with upgrades, India expects to keep its Jaguars in service for another twelve years. India finally ended production of the Jaguar this year. Britain is replacing its Jaguars with Eurofighters, an expensive proposition considering the low cost and high effectiveness of the old, but very reliable Jaguar.

 


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