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India upgrades its MiG-27s

On the right is the new upgraded cockpit of MiG-27. DRDO photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): Handling a MiG-27 fighter jet would not be the same for Indian Air Force pilots. One of the key ground attack fighters now has a new cockpit. India's Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) has upgraded the avionics on MiG-27s, bought from Russia more than two decades ago, to turn them into modern fighting machines.

The new look cockpit of a MiG-27 will have several new equipment including an Inertial Navigation and Global Position System for steering it with perfection in any weather. It can fire with much more accuracy as Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Laser Ranger and Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) have been incorporated.

A digital Map Generator has also been integrated to improve situational awareness of the pilot. The digital video recording system provides mission analysis and debriefs support.

It will have other basic features now found in every modern jet like Multi-Function Display (MFD) and Head Up Display (HUD). The HUD simplifies handling of aircraft for the pilot who can get all the necessary NAV and attack guidance symbology on the HUD and superimposed on the available visual references.

It will have an auto pilot and as well as an auto-weapon delivery system.

The indigenous effort to upgrade MiG-27s was launched in 2002 and operational squadrons were formed later in June 2006. It was a joint effort between DARE, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and the Air Force.

DARE had developed a Core Avionics Computer, built on open system principles, housing functional modules using contemporary processors and devices. These modules were earlier used on mission computers fitted on Jaguars and Su-30 MKIs.

Scientists at DARE developed critical software and over a half a million lines of code were developed while sticking to stringent real time constraints and requisite software engineering requirements, said a statement released by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The resultant quality software was independently verified and validated with external agencies, it said.

Algorithms for navigation along with algorithms for weapon delivery with the help of Software Development Institute of Indian Air Force. It enabled precision in weapon delivery.

The upgraded MiG-27 will also have an advanced electronic warfare suite which has been integrated with the communication systems. It has an emergency situation indication system and automated emergency handling cueing system on MFD. It will have a better night attack capability.

The new systems were integrated at Nasik unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited which had helped in preparing the prototype aircraft.

The officials claimed that MiG-27s have become a modern potent weapon with friendly cockpit. It now matches with the best in the world and the upgradation has been achieved at minimum costs.

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