The Indian Air Force (IAF) will acquire airframes, assorted spares, and sub-assemblies from France, Oman, and the United Kingdom by the end of the year to support its ageing fleet of about 120 SEPECAT Jaguar IS/IB/IM ground-attack aircraft and improve their overall operational serviceability.
Official sources told Jane’s on 24 July that France has agreed to supply the IAF 31 Jaguar airframes as a gift while Oman has consented to donate two similar airframes as well as eight Rolls-Royce Adour engines and 3,500 lines of spares for the platforms.
The United Kingdom has offered two twin-seat Jaguar airframes and 619 lines of spares, capable of being restored to a fully serviceable condition for INR28 million (USD407,000).
The cost of dismantling the airframes by technicians from the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which has licence-built IAF Jaguars since the early 1980s, and transporting them to India along with the ancillaries would be borne by the IAF.
France retired the last of its Jaguar aircraft in 2005, while the United Kingdom did so in 2007 and Oman in 2014.
“This procedure [of acquiring airframes and spares] has been done earlier for the IAF’s Canberra bomber fleet [retired in 2007],” former IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal Vinod Patney told Jane’s . “It’s a practical and economically sensible move doing the same for the Jaguar fleet,” he added.
Other senior IAF officers said that the service has little choice but to ensure that its five Jaguar squadrons remain operational. The IAF’s fighter squadrons are expected to drop to 25 by 2022 from a sanctioned strength of 42.
The first 40 imported Jaguars entered IAF service from 1979 and were supplemented thereafter by licence-built platforms, all of which have been plagued in recent years by low serviceability levels of under 60% due primarily to an enduring shortage of spares.
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