SOURCE: VINAYAK SHETTY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
First AESA Equipped Jaguar aircraft with tail number JM255 made its first flight yesterday. This particular aircraft belongs to IAF’s Maritime Strike No-6 Dragons Squadron based in Lohegaon Airbase just outside Pune, which is specially tasked to carry out Anti-Ship operations in the Arabian sea.
Jaguar Maritime (JM) Strike Squadron consists of 12 Jaguar aircraft which are now getting Darin III upgrade and each aircraft will be equipped with AESA radar, Glass cockpit, Higher capacitor alternators, Helmet Mounted Display, Integrated Defensive aid suite, New mission computers along with new software upgrade along with Tarang Radar warning receiver.
Jaguar Maritime is now equipped with American supplied Harpoon Block-II Anti ship missile which has a range of nearly 124kms and also can be used to carry out land strike missions if required. Jaguar Maritime is also equipped with Inflight refuelling probe which allows them to patrol Arabian sea for longer duration and the pilots are also trained by Indian Naval aviators for all their operations over the sea.
While almost all Indian air force fighter fleet can perform all Anti Ship missions over high sea and several Sukhoi-30 Squadrons are also regularly trained to carryout Anti ship missions over the sea but Jaguar Maritime Strike Squadron is only special dedicated Squadron marked for operations over the sea which in sync works with Indian Naval aviation to hunt for rival warships which are moving closer to Indian waters .
IAF operates 100 + Jaguar Strike (JS) and Jaguar Trainer (JT) aircraft out of 48 newer built Jaguars will receive Darin III upgrade along with 12 Jaguar Maritime (JM) so that it can be kept in operation till 2034 and beyond. ELTA-2052 AESA Fire Control Radar has excellent Sea Search and tracking capabilities and Multi-targeting capabilities which will enhance Jaguar Maritime (JM) Strike capabilities.
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