The Indian Air Force (IAF) is pushing its plans to upgrade around 100 Jaguar fighter aircraft by equipping them with new Honeywell engines in a deal worth $783 million. The deal has been stuck for over six years now.
"The stuck project is being revived and pushed by the Air Force. A number of sticky issues with Honeywell have been sorted out and it is expected that there will be some movement forward in the deal in the coming times," a senior government official was quoted as saying by India Today Monday.
As per the programme, the Indian Air Force will re-engine around 100 of its Jaguar planes deployed in Jamnagar, Gorakhpur and Ambala with Honeywell power plants.
The Jaguars are currently powered by Rolls-Royce Adour 804/811 engines which are to be replaced with Honeywell's F-125N engine. The new engines are supposed to provide almost 1.5 times the power the existing engines provide to the aircraft.
"If upgraded and re-engined, the Jaguar can serve as a potent fighter while the government can go on deciding on new aircraft to be procured for the air force," a source said.
Recently, MoS for defence Subhash Bhamre said in the Parliament, "The IAF will have 32 fighter squadrons and 39 helicopter units by 2020." The Air Force currently possesses 32 squadrons but, as the minister put it, "Three squadrons of MiG-21 aircraft will be phased out by 2020."