HAL’s efforts are keeping the Jaguar flying and in many cases the parts for the aircraft are no longer being manufactured
Chairman Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), T. Suvarna Raju

T. Suvarna Raju Please mention how HAL plans to promote the ‘Make in India’ initiative?
We have to our credit 14 license products and 15 indigenous products of various platforms. ‘Make in India’ will definitely establish the ecosystem in India for aeronautics. As HAL is the lead manufacturer in aviation in India, we would like to encourage the establishment of the eco-system by allowing the private sector partners to participate. At the same time HAL would like to retain its role as lead integrator. While we have mastered the technologies and learnt some of the core technologies through license transfer, ‘Make in India’ will definitely make a difference in the aviation sector and HAL is well prepared.

Many private sector industries are now willing to participate in defence manufacturing and the re-categorisation of defence items and listing and environment for aerospace manufacturing is being created in India as a result of these positive actions. HAL is looking for more manufacturers and suppliers of components. As an example earlier we used to ask for Level 3 suppliers to supply us with gears, shafts and components. However, today we are offering the vendors whole systems, such as the transmission system for our helicopter models. This also makes for a good business case, once you are into the business our helicopters will be in service for another two to three decades, we are sure that the eco-system will be developed.

What is the update on the Mirage 2000 upgrade programme for the Indian Air Force (IAF)?
Mirage 2000 upgrade was thought about as a result of the obsolescence of its avionics and radar system. As per the contract with IAF, two aircraft have been upgraded to Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard by Dassault Aviation in France and are now in India. Two aircraft are now undergoing their upgrade here in Bengaluru. The obtaining of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for India specific requirements as laid down by the IAF, would be done by HAL.

As things stand presently, we are on track with regards to the schedules and dates prescribed for the Mirage 2000 upgrade and we will be completing this task without any delay. There are no critical issues and there are no major hiccups. Now, you will see the second mission computer installed on the Mirage 2000 upgrade is designed, developed and manufactured by our Mission and Combat System R&D Centre (MCSRDC) at Bengaluru. The computer is ready and while there were some concerns earlier on the adherence to project deadlines for the mission computer development, today the computer is ready and on the bench.

We have also undertaken tasks such as life-extension for the Mirage 2000 fleet and perform major overhauls for this multi-role combat platform and have built up substantial expertise on this aircraft.

What is the update on upgrades for the Jaguar strike fighter for the IAF?
We operate the largest Jaguar fleet in the world and the only one in operational service currently and the entire fleet is looked after by HAL. We have been supporting the product since the Eighties.

Today, the fleet consists of aircraft in two standards, DARIN I and DARIN II, where DARIN stands for Display Attack Ranging and Inertial Navigation. The DARIN I fleet is approaching obsolescence and we are proposing an upgrade to DARIN III for this fleet. DARIN III is an extended upgrade of DARIN II with upgraded open architecture mission computers. We expect the operational clearance for the upgraded DARIN III Jaguars by the end of this year. There was a delay in the development of the Open System Architecture Mission Computer (OSAMC).

Today, we are happy with the performance of upgraded Jaguars and the product is good. The engine flight instruments (EFIS) have also been successfully upgraded and integrated. Tests are progressing well and following this we will look at obtaining the serial compliance for the remaining 59 aircraft. DARIN II demonstrated the Indian capability of manufacturing the mission computer. Now, all our platforms will have Indian mission computers going forward and this is a great achievement. The Hawk has an imported mission computer and we are planning this to be replaced with an indigenously developed one in the future.

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