INDIAN AIRFORCE GROUNDS MIGS
By Bulbul Singh
07 Nov 05. The Indian Air Force has grounded four of the upgraded MiG 27 aircraft upgraded at Indian facilities because of snags in the homegrown avionics developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO’s) Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE), at Bangalore, and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Nasik Division.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, (HAL)had taken up the up gradation of the 40 MiG 27 aircraft and the ambitious project is being undertaken without the help for the Russians.
An official of the Indian Air Force confirmed that four of the recently upgraded MiG 27 had to be grounded due to technical snags in the homegrown avionics.
The new avionics, developed by DARE, is built around two high performance core avionics computers that perform the multiple functions of a mission computer, display processor, video switching unit as well as a weapon algorithm computer-all combined in a single unit.
The avionics upgrade involves interfacing new Israeli systems like
forward looking infra- red, head up display, video recording system and digital map generator.
Sources in DRDO said the avionics integrated for the MiG 27 was a spin-off developed for the Sukhoi -30 MKI aircraft by DRDO, but it is not known if the changes will now be made for the SU 30 MKI aircraft in the avionics.
HAL had bagged the upgrade award in competition against Moscow based RSK MAPO of Russia two years ago.
The core avionics computer used in the upgraded MiG- 27 has been used in the used in the Jaguar aircraft, proposed and for the MiG- 29. As the MiG-27 avionics project was a spin off of the SU 30 MKI project currently under license production at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited it was sought to reduce the man-hours on research and development.
Besides indigenous components several electronic systems will be acquired from Israel, including the digital moving mop from Elbit Systems of Israel and electro optic system from Russia.
The upgrading would also include fitment of EW suite, jam resistance secured communication, installation of Radar Warning System, Forward looking Infra red sensors, Laser Digital Pods and data link systems.
Besides, advanced navigation systems and an improved targeting accuracy, developed by the Bangalore- based avionics unit of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been incorporated in the upgraded MiG-27. Tranquil. An indigenously developed self-protection jammer is also being re- fitted during the upgrade.
An HAL official said the IAF’s upgrade program aims to keep the type in frontline service till 2020 adding that the MiG-27 upgrade will primarily be an in-country affair, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) Nasik Division acting as the primary contractor. The official however did not comment on the grounding of the four upgraded MiG 27 by the Indian Air Force.
Sensor updates include mounting of Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Laser Designation Pod (LDP), L-Band Homer and Reconnaissance Pods.
A radar will be mounted which will give the aircraft anti-ship and some air-to-air capability.
HAL’s Hyderabad Division has developed a radio altimeter and stand up UHF Communication system which will be incorporated during the up gradation.
The Indian Air Force proposes to upgrade 140 MIG 27 aircraft at a cost of over $800 million finishing the job by 2010.
The priority of the upgraded MiG 27 was to remove shortcomings such as limitations in accuracy of navigation and weapon delivery, improve night flight capability and install advanced jammers.
The Russian manufacturer of MiG 27 however refused to let the engine of MiG 27 be changed saying that in case the R 29-B engine of the aircraft is changed then it will lead to a major changes in the entire aircraft in various dimensions.
Sensor updates include mounting of Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR), Laser De