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The Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced a phased retirement plan for its Jaguar strike aircraft fleet, beginning in 2027-28. This multi-year program aims to completely remove Jaguars from service by 2035. IAF will start retiring with DARIN-I/II Aircrafts, which was upgraded aircrafts first.

Originally, the plan was to replace Jaguars entirely with the Tejas MkII fighter jet, a more modern and indigenous design. However, it appears the initial squadrons slated for retirement may transition to the Tejas Mk1A variant instead.

The Tejas Mk1A is an upgraded version of the Tejas Mk1, offering improved capabilities compared to the Jaguar. This interim solution allows the IAF to phase out the aging Jaguars while Tejas MkII development reaches full production.

The Jaguar has served as a mainstay of its IAF’s Strike force for decades, performing various roles including ground attack, reconnaissance, and maritime patrol. Notably Jaguar fleet of IAF has been facing issues with its Underpowered engines that tends to lose power in Hot Humid conditions of India.

The IAF currently operates around 120 Jaguar aircraft across six squadrons:

  • No. 5 Squadron (“Tuskers”) – Ambala Air Force Station
  • No. 14 Squadron (“Bulls”) – Ambala Air Force Station
  • No. 6 Squadron (“Dragons”) – Jamnagar Air Force Station (IM variant)
  • No. 16 Squadron (“Black Cobras”) – Gorakhpur Air Force Station
  • No. 27 Squadron (“Flaming Arrows”) – Gorakhpur Air Force Station
  • No. 224 Squadron (“Warlords”) – Jamnagar Air Force Station