Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) long pending re-engineering program for Jaguar fleet recently received setbacks when lone vendor Honeywell Aerospace jacked up the cost by almost double from its previous quote leaving uncertainty of the whole fleet of Anglo-French Jaguar strike aircraft which IAF wants to keep till 2034 and beyond.

120 Jaguars which are currently powered by twin Rolls-Royce Adour Mk 821 engines, which are now considered under-powered due to considerable upgrades which Jaguar fleet has gone through over the last couple of years which now has started to affect its performance in hot and humid conditions. Without high powered engines, the whole Jaguar fleet will continue to suffer from operational limitations which will reduce the efficiency of the jet even though IAF has been busy of late making sure it has enough spares and support equipment to keep them operational till 2035.

Jaguar Re-engine program is so old that if India wanted it could have difficult its own engine from its own efforts which not only could have been cheaper but also could have saved India millions of dollars. HAL in 2013 started an internal program to develop a 25 kN indigenous Aero Engine from its Internal funds to power HJT-36 IJT aircraft which is still in doldrums for years now, there was no specific requirement from the air force nor and any special fund which was granted from the Defence ministry yet the Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine (HTFE-25) engine program was initiated without much clear objectives in mind, since even now no one clearly knows what it will be powering when it is ready for production in near future.

HAL instead of HTFE-25 had worked on HTFE-40 which was to develop a 40 kN thurst engine it could have been used on the entire Jaguar fleet. According to HAL’s own admission, HTFE-25 core has growth potential of only 15-20% which means at best it can be uprated till 30kN thrust which again is not sufficient to power Jaguars but deep modifications to the core can be initiated to develop a 40kN class engine which in short turn around time if the air force and HAL was serious about the project.

If India does go a head with procurement of new engines with price quoted in the media then it will be cheaper to procure brand New Tejas Mk-1 then upgrading 30 year old Jets.


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