The Indian Defence Ministry shortly will float a limited global tender for procurement of sophisticated escort jamming systems for its Air Force’s Jaguar combat fleet, allowing the British-made aircraft to suppress enemy strategic air defense systems and protect itself during deep penetration missions.
A senior Defence Ministry official said the $50 million tender will be floated in September, inviting overseas defense firms — including Israel’s Elbit and Israel Aircraft Industries, France’s Thales and Britain’s BAE SYSTEMS — to supply escort jammers for one squadron of 18 Jaguar aircraft.
Once these systems are mounted, the Jaguar aircraft will be able to jam enemy radar and, using anti-radiation missiles likely to be procured in the future, destroy ground radar stations.
Escort jammers also would enable the Jaguars to detect incoming beyond-visual-range missiles and effectively jam an enemy’s early warning radar and C4I systems.
State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Bangalore, has completed upgrades to the first 17 of 29 Air Force Jaguars. The upgraded aircraft, which can carry nuclear weapons, is the mainstay of the Air Force.
The twin-seater Jaguars are deep-strike penetration fighters fitted with India’s Navigation and Warfare Attack System (NAVWAS), which will help the Air Force enhance its firepower. The upgraded NAVWAS was developed jointly by HAL and the Defense Avionics Research Establishment, Bangalore. The plane’s avionics suite equips the upgraded Jaguars for night attacks. The Jaguar’s mission computer was developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the software by HAL and DRDO.
The Indian Air Force has lost 40 of the 140 Jaguars it procured beginning in the 1980s.