New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to get their first fighter jet equipped with a new age active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as upgrades to their deep penetration Jaguar fighter are completed. Defense sources told Sputnik the AESA-equipped Jaguar DARIN III will take its first flight this month. Technical trials and other necessary tests have been completed.
"The new age AESA radar has been integrated into Jaguar and it is ready to take its first flight in a few days. Suitable date is being finalized by the Ministry of Defense and IAF," a defense source told to Sputnik.
In comparison to a conventional radar, in which an antenna is moved manually to scan enemy targets, the beam in AESA radars moves electronically. As its movement are very rapid, it can track multiple targets and simultaneously jam enemy communications and radar.
Currently, the IAF does not possess any fighter jets equipped with new age AESA radar. DARIN III Jaguars are being equipped with AESA radar by Israel's ELTA. The DARIN III Jaguar is also equipped with new state of the art hardware and software, including an open system architecture mission computer, engine and flight instrument system (EFIS); fire control radar; a state of the art Inertial Navigation System with GPS and many others improvements.
In 2012, ELTA offered to equip the IAF's 61 Jaguar with its ELM-2052 AESA radar during the upgrade process that would lead to the DARIN III version, which is being carried out by India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The upgrade is an attempt to add another 20 years of operational life to the aircraft.
Meanwhile, India's Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) is locally developing AESA at a cost of $67 million. This project was approved by the government in January 2012 and is likely to be completed by May 2019, with a delay of three years. Home grown AESA radars will be fitted in upgraded versions of the Tejas MK 2.