HAL undertakes successful flight of upgraded Jaguar strike aircraft

Written by: Dr Anantha Krishnan M
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Bengaluru, Apr 1: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) successfully carried out the first flight of a Jaguar DARIN III upgraded ‘strike' aircraft at its facilities in Bengaluru recently.

HAL officials confirmed to OneIndia that the first flight of the upgraded Jaguar ‘strike' aircraft lasted for about 15 minutes.

jaguar

The maiden flight was followed by another flight of the upgraded Jaguar that lasted for an hour on March 25 for an hour.

In November 2012, HAL had carried out the first flight of Jaguar DARIN III upgraded ‘maritime' aircraft, with an unhappy Indian Air Force (IAF) wanting more features to be added on to the aircraft.

"The IAF had some concerns with the Mission Computer used in the maritime aircraft. It was of DARIN-II standard. We have now upgraded all possible systems on the aircraft as per the user requirement," HAL Chairman T Suvarna Raju told OneIndia.

The IAF wants its ageing Jaguar fleet to be upgraded to Display Attack Ranging Inertial Navigation (DARIN-III) standards, a project that was set in motion in 2009.

Three Jaguar prototypes (strike, maritime and trainer) have been set aside for testing the DARIN-III features. Raju says that HAL is mandated to upgrade 59 Jaguars that were inducted into the IAF, forming the original batch.

"The strike version has already completed four flights so far and the feedback is satisfactory. Once the trainer too is ready, the IOC (Initial Operational Clearance) phase will come into play," Raju said.

"The Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade will boost the performance of the aircraft with cost-effective and state-of-the-art solution," he added.

HAL's youngest Division - the Mission and Combat System Research & Design Centre (MCSRDC) - undertook the total design and development of DARIN III upgrade, including software, hardware, mechanical, electrical, avionics architecture, design and system design.

The total Operational Flight Programme (OFP) software developed by MCSRDC is embedded in an indigenously-developed open system architecture mission computer hardware.

"Capacity has been built to write millions of lines of software codes. We are now confident of upgrading any platform," Raju added.

HAL's seasoned Overhaul Division situated in Bengaluru Complex undertook the modification of the aircraft. HAL Divisions in Hyderabad and Korwa too played a key role in the project.

HAL says that upgrade also incorporates primary and reversionary modes of navigation, state-of-the-art man-machine interface (near glass cockpit), Head-Up Display, Engine and Flight Instrument System and Radar Warning Receiver Display Unit.

HAL team

HAL develops turbo generator for AN-32

In a non-related development, HAL's AERDC Division developed the Gas Turbine Electrical Generator (GTEG-60) for AN-32 aircraft.

The home-grown (GTEG-60) turbo generator is expected to replace TG-16M, meeting the starting requirements of AI-20D aero engine of AN-32 aircraft. HAL officials say that GTEG-60 has a rated power of 60 kW and peak power of 80 kW.

"All the functional and performance parameters of the engine were found satisfactory," an official said.

The first unit was tested successfully to the peak power of 80 kW at Koraput Division. Two consecutive loading cycles were successfully tested. Total 30 normal starts with 'no load' condition and 18 kW, 60 kW, 80 kW loading were carried out during a period of March 9 to 13, 2015.

(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia. He tweets @writetake.)

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