Bangalore/New Delhi: Rolls Royce and Honeywell Aerospace are expected to submit proposals for fitting new engines to Indian Air Force (IAF) Jaguar aircraft by March-April, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
The requests for proposal (RFPs) for new engines on the deep penetration strike aircraft (DPSA) were issued towards the end of November or early December, they said.
Jaguars have flown with the IAF since 1979 and there are currently over 100 in service, all of them fitted with Rolls Royce Adour Mk 811 engines, most of which are near the end of their service life, according to the IAF.
While Rolls Royce is offering the Mk821, Honeywell is showcasing the F125IN. The firms will have to supply 250 engines (to equip 125 planes) and some spare ones over a period of six years. The cost of the programme is estimated at over $650 million (Rs2,960 crore).
The IAF spokesperson declined to comment on the issue. Honeywell says its engine will improve mission performance, enhance pilot safety, reduce pilot workload and lower maintenance events and costs.
In 2009, the F125IN was demonstrated for the IAF in Bangalore. Honeywell collaborates with local firm Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to produce the TPE331 engine that powers the Dornier 228 aircraft built by the Indian company. Rolls Royce has installed and tested the Adour Mk821 engine in a Jaguar aircraft to prove its capability and suitability, according to a company release. The company’s Adour Mk871 powers the British Aerospace advanced jet trainer (AJT) Hawk, of which India ordered 57 in June last year.
HAL is producing over 44 engines for the Hawk at its facility in Bangalore, where it has been producing Adour Mk811 engines for the Jaguar since 1981. Rolls-Royce has also set up a purchase office in Bangalore (at HAL) to increase its sourcing from India. In 2005, Rolls-Royce established a new subsidiary in Bangalore with QuEST to manage the growing volume of engineering work that it is subcontracting in the country.
At present, the Darwin-II upgrade is being carried out on 17 twin engine Jaguars produced by HAL. This includes advanced terrain display attack ranging inertial navigation, avoidance warning systems, airborne self-protection jammers, designator pods and digital auto pilot systems. The project cost is estimated at $123 million.“The specialist, long-range Jaguar aircraft are the frontline players in the battlefield for the IAF that can go deep into the enemy territory with strike capability,” said executive director of PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dhiraj Mathur.