India on Nov. 28 successfully carried out the first flight of its Jaguar aircraft with upgraded avionics, known as the Darin III.

State-run defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) flew the upgraded version for re-induction into the Indian air force (IAF) after final certification and clearance.

“The upgrade will enable the Darin III Jaguar to fly in all weather with air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-sea capabilities, using [the] latest avionics and multi-mode radar,” says HAL chairman R.K. Tyagi.

The new version is equipped with a mission computer, engine and flight instrument system, solid-state digital recording system and data recorder, autopilot, radar, GPS and radar warning receiver.

“The upgraded aircraft also has modern navigation, electronic warfare and weapon delivery systems with the latest man-machine interface [via] glass cockpit and two multi-function displays and head-up display,” Tyagi says.

HAL’s mission and combat system research center redesigned the ground attack aircraft’s software, hardware and subsystems, while its overhaul division led the trial modification.

India is in the process of upgrading its roughly 100-strong Jaguar aircraft in the IAF fleet from the initial Darin I version under a 2008 contract signed with HAL. India also signed a deal with the U.S. to re-engine the fleet with Honeywell’s F125IN 43.8 kilonewton-thrust turbofan. The modernization cost is estimated at $543 million (30.13 billion rupees).

Darin III photo: HAL