The Indian Air Force is eyeing to acquire old Jaguars from France, UK, and Oman to get old air frames and spare parts for its own Jaguar fleet.
“IAF currently has 118 Jaguars (26 of them twin-seaters) but their operational availability has drastically gone down because of obsolescence, shortage of spares and closing down of assembly lines by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). So, the search for airframes and spares from different countries is underway,” Times of India reported quoting an unnamed defense ministry source as saying Monday.
According to the report, IAF and state-owned HAL have been working on closing the $1.5 billion (US $22 million) project to re-engine the Jaguars. It may be noted that 40 Jaguars were inducted by the IAF in 1979. This was followed by a licensed production of 150 of these British fighter jets by HAL.
While the UK, as well as France, have retired their Jaguars, the report cited that with the latest upgrade, the Indian Jaguar fleet can run well beyond 2035.
According to the report, IAF is eyeing 31 airframes from France, eight engines and 3500 spares from Oman and two twin seats and rotables from the UK. Interestingly, the spares have been given free-of-cost by France and Oman, while the UK has charged Rs 2.8 crore (US $407,000).
According to the report, the 'gift' from France comes in light of the Rs 59,000 crore (US $8.5 billion) contract for 36 Rafale fighters between India and France.