Tuesday, January 06, 2009

DARE completes IAF MiG-27 upgrade

Defence Avionics Research Establishment under the aegis of Defence Research and Development Organisation achieved the successful completion of avionics upgrade of MiG-27 aircraft. This pioneering effort was realised using entirely indigenous expertise at a fraction of cost. The project was initiated in the year 2002 through a tripartite MoU between DARE, HAL(Nasik) and Air Force. The Initial Operational Clearance was accorded in June 2006 which led to the subsequent formation of operational squadrons.

The avionics system is built around a modular mission computer termed Core Avionics Computer (CAC), developed by DARE. The CAC built on open system principles, houses functional modules using contemporary processors and devices. These functional modules are powering the mission computers on Jaguar and Su-30 MKI aircraft as well.

The upgraded MiG-27 aircraft is equipped with Inertial Navigation & Global Positioning System (INGPS) providing accurate Navigation. Advanced avionics on the aircraft has been interfaced on MIL-STD-1553B Dual Redundant Bus. To enable weapon aiming, accurate ranging sensors such as Laser Designator Pod (LDP) and Laser Ranger & Marked Target Seeker (LRMTS) are integrated. A digital Map Generator has been integrated to improve situational awareness. The digital Video Recording system provides mission analysis and debrief support.

DARE took up the challenge of developing the mission critical software. Over half a million lines of code were developed adhering to stringent real time constraints and requisite software engineering requirements. The resultant quality software was independently verified and validated with external agencies. DARE developed algorithms for navigation, ranging including a weapon delivery algorithm which was developed along with Software Development Institute of Air Force enabling precision Weapon Delivery.

The upgraded aircraft has a pilot friendly cockpit with state-of-Art Multi Function Display (MFD) and Head Up Display (HUD). The pilot flies "Head Up" with all the necessary NAV and attack guidance symbology presented on the HUD and superimposed on the outside world view. The Integrated Flight and Weapon Control System of the upgraded aircraft enables Hands Free (Auto Pilot) Route Flying and Auto-Weapon delivery. A functional maintenance mode has been incorporated providing "On AIRCRAFT" LRU health checks.

Advanced integrated EW Suite is integrated along with state-of-art communication systems. The upgraded aircraft also has an emergency situation indication system and automated emergency handling cueing system on Multi Function Display (MFD). The introduction of LDP has enhanced the Night Attack Capability. HAL, Nasik was instrumental in the design and modification of prototype aircraft for installation of new cockpit and avionics equipment as well as related looming changes.

The avionics upgrade has transformed the legacy aircraft into a potent weapon delivery platform with a user friendly cockpit. All the aircrafts have been upgraded and the users are enamored with the performance of the upgraded aircraft which is comparable with contemporary aircraft in use around the world.

DARE has forged synergetic partnerships with leaders from private industries like M/s TCS and M/s ComAvia to leverage the best in knowledge and the latest in technology. With this upgrade project DRDO, HAL, ADE, IAF, CEMILAC and DGAQA has showcased the expertise that exists within the country for completing complex and challenging task of aircraft upgrade.

33 comments :

Col VT Venkatesh(Retd) said...

While it is nice to know about the software, how well it has been tested should be published along with the test results.
This will go a long way to ensure that the software quality is of top class.
I have not come across stringent testing by service officers since testing is not considered a glamorous job
One requires real knowledge of the domain & software to be a real good tester.
This is hard to come by in the Services

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The complete avionics package and its open-architecture MIL-STD-1553B digital data bus was integrated and tested on the avionics integration test rig of the type used for integrating the avionics suites of the Su-30MKI and Tejas LCA. Following this, up to 800 hours of flight-testing was conducted by the IAF's Bangalore-based Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) before final operational clearance was accorded by both the CEMILAC and IAF HQ.

Anonymous said...

The photograph on the top is a very tacky and cheap photoshop job of a MiG 27 on the ground being superimposed on the background. If one looks closely even the body paint is a cut and paste job. Why no real external pics of upgraded MiGs?

Wg Cdr. Bob said...

if they can do such an enormous avionics upgrade,why can't they atleast change that damn WWII era windscreen ( those were primarily designed for dogfights)...even the upgraded MiG 21s have got rid of those!

Anonymous said...

Development of critical avionics Software usually follows pretty established design, development and testing guidelines that are very different from 'other' software.

There may still be bugs in the software, but these modules and associated software are also being used on Su30MKIs, so I am pretty confident that these have been tested adequately.

Does anyone know the number of upgraded airframes? It sounds like a really potent upgrade..

Sudeep

Sunny from Sydney! said...

Why do you not acknowledge that you plagiarized and copied this article and pics from Frontier India Strategic and Defence Website (http://frontierindia.net/india-upgrades-mig-27-aircraft-avionics). Why do you do that? I know you do not sit down and type every article. You do collate similar defence articles and present it to readers like me and that is excellent. But you should not plagiarize and then not acknowledge it. This is just a comment along the lines of professionalism.

Sunny from Sydney! said...

Why do you not acknowledge that you plagiarized and copied this article and pics from Frontier India Strategic and Defence Website (http://frontierindia.net/india-upgrades-mig-27-aircraft-avionics). Why do you do that? I know you do not sit down and type every article. You do collate similar defence articles and present it to readers like me and that is excellent. But you should not plagiarize and then not acknowledge it. This is just a comment along the lines of professionalism.

Vital said...

Looks like another way for the DRDO to outsource the work to outside agencies and take the credit for doing a "wonderful" job "indigenously" using totally imported components and finally, using the knowledge bank of those people whom we bought the equipment itself. what Col Venkatesh (Retd) says is quite right, the problem is that testing is not good enough, so we cannot catch on until it is too late and the "indigenous" stuff is dumped on our lap. It is too late that we find out that our "indigenous" developers cannot change any software because it is "indigenous" so some other country and they would charge many many dollars to give us the code or the change the code for us.

Leaves one wondering how much "indigenous" stuff there really is in even other projects... for example the HPT 32 which was "pitted" against the Cessna 152A, is responsible for many crashes, and costs at least five times the cost of a Cessna in a fly-away condition.....

Anonymous said...

Would it be possible to know how many Mig 27's have been upgraded.........i had read a report some time back that only 40 aircraft were to be upgraded (not all @ 110 - 120 operational in 6.5 Sqdns)??

Also, what news of the Mirage 2000 upgrade (51 aircraft) ? has the deal finally been signed ??

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Sunny from Sydney!: If you had bothered to do your homework you would have realised that the MiG-27M upgrade story was from the DRDO's press release. Both LIVEFIST and Frontier India published it en verbatim. The issue of plagiarism doesn't arise at all. Try to be more circumspect next time before you indulge in blame games.

To Anon@12:38PM: The first tranche of MiG-27Ms to be upgraded numbers 40. There's an option for another 40, as a total of 165 MiG-27Ms were licence-built by HAL and another 54 were supplied off-the-shelf by the erstwhile USSR.

To Wg Cdr. Bob: The reason why the cockpit windscreen wasn't changed was because it is inconsequential. For the MiG-21 Bison the forward FOV is deemed as being critical during air combat, hence a single-piece windscreen was incorporated. For the MiG-27M, the ground targets to be engaged will be acquired by the Litening-2 LDP and the target's all-weather imagery will be displayed by the AMLCD in the cockpit (that's also the reason why HOTAS capability was incorporated so that the pilot, during target engagement, will not have to shift his attention from the AMLCD to the external view). Therefore, the pilot will not be required to glance outside and acquire situational awareness updates through the Mk1 eyeball. As a consequence, from now on these upgraded MiG-27Ms will no longer be required to fly terrain-hugging flight profiles, instead flying between 20,000 feet and 40,000 feet ASL in all weather conditions, acquiring its intended targets from standoff distances, and engaging them with PGMs like laser-guided bombs (four pwer aircraft).

Anonymous said...

The Great Prasun K Sengupta writes,"the pilot will not be required to glance outside and acquire situational awareness updates through the Mk1 eyeball."

Wellholier than thou Sir, regardlesof whatever twist you may give a ground attack aircraft is always designed to provide a good downward field of view for the pilot. usually it comes in the shape of a sloping nose as in the MiG27. You see sir, things are not always picture perfect and systems have atendency to fail, hence the need for mark1 eyeball.

Again you say, "...As a consequence, from now on these upgraded MiG-27Ms will no longer be required to fly terrain-hugging flight profiles"

The Mig 27 or any other legacy mud mover doesnt fly ground hugging for visibility but for an undetected ingress to target. Sir you are all allmighty but that doesnt mean rest of us are fools. So why play Gate Guardian for this blog go and filth your own little blog plz.

Wing Cdr. Bob Sir jee, they didnt change the glass because there is no need to. The prsent windshield gives good downward visibility and is bulletproof aainst small arms fire expected in lowlevel attack missions. Since its not a fighter but a GA aircraft, criteria for alla around perfect visibility is not that stringent.

Thanx.

Anonymous said...

Hi My Name is PKS,

I write a lot of defence related tid-bits for the news hungry Indian defence enthusiasts. Since they are all famished due to so little real action, they lap up with relish what I lay on for them. Of course I also use my imagination liberally to write authoritative sounding lines on all matters as if I have all kind of inside knowledge.

HOWEVER, you don’t really need to read my blogs daily, since the one and only punch line remains the same, that is “ALL RUSSIAN WEAPON SYSTEMS ARE CRAP & ALL WESTERN SYSTEMS ARE BEST OF THE BEST." I basically look with shame at our history of usage of Soviet/Russian systems, but since US is ready to sell to us today we should immediately replace all our Russian hardware with shiny western ones. And since most of my readers are a wide eyed America awed NRIs, this kind of drift is sure to please you.

So repeat after me:
1. Armaris is better than RUBIN
2. Boeing is better than Sukhoi
3. Westinghouse is better than Tikhomirov
4. Pratt & Whitney is better than Lyulka
5. Sikrosky is better than Mil

Unkil (aur unke european poodles) ki jai ho jaiho.......

Anonymous said...

Dear Prasun, thanks for the info. That's 40 Mig27's upgraded in 5-6 years. What about the next lot of 40 ??? and, any news of the Mirage2000 upgrade ?? By the way, your 'annual report'(on Trishul) on the IN and its future, was really good.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Mig27 Photo was really a cut paste job and badly done at that too !! notice that the tyres...........thats a giveaway !!

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@2:44AM: The only one who's Gate Guardian for LIVEFIST is its creator, Shiv Aroor, because only he has the key to lock and unlock the gate, not me. By the way, how old are you? Read the DRDO press release carefully and look out for the term LDP which, by the way, is not used for low-level flight as it is a targeting pod, not a LANTIRN-type navigation/targeting pod. Now kiddo, go to Wikipedia or FAS or anything like that and find out for yourself at exactly what altitudes the LDP is used. Also, as you would not know, let me tell you that unlike the windscreen, the LDP is not 'bullet-proof' from small-arms fire. So now, at what kind of 'low-level' would a LDP-equipped MiG-27M cruise, holier-than-thou Anon?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@10.27AM: Many thks for your compliments. The follow-on batch of 40 MiG-27Ms to be upgraded will receive funding allocation in the upcoming new fiscal year. The to-be-upgraded Mirage 2000s will be armed with Vympel R-27ER/ET and R-77 BVRAAMs, and not the MICA IR/EM or ASRAAM or Python-5/Derby as speculated earlier.

Anonymous said...

Will the MiG-27 upgrade have a podded radar installation as an option as speculated earlier in the 1990s ? The Komar radar was mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Great Sir Sen Gupta, I didn’t mean to get into LDP and their ideal usage at all, regardless of examples of their usage at extremely low level by Buccaneers strike bombers in the Gulf war in 1991.I was merely referring to reasons why GA aircrafts fly close to ground. As opposed to visibility reasons given by you, the chief reason is and will always be protection from ground based radar.
However, that doesn’t in any manner steal away from the fact that, low level attacks are not the ideal way to conduct strike missions as far as attrition issues go. In fact any air force would like to switch to medium and high level strike/attack profile as soon as air superiority environment is favorable. In 91 Gulf war USAF strike eagles switched to medium level air field assaults right after Iraqi defences were sufficiently degraded, unlike the British who continued with low level JP2333 delivery missions and lost many Tornados as a result. When you spend a lot of time near the ground, chances are something is going to go wrong

I don’t know why you would call others to be kiddos and fools? Ego can hurt, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shiv,
ASTE of Air Force was one of the main driver for this project. Your post has not highlighted it.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@1:48AM: The reason I keep calling the likes of you kiddo is simply because you persistently refuse to do your homework. For instance, the British Buccaneers NEVER lased their targets from low-level. All lasing was done from medium-level with the help of TIALD pods (remember them?). Nor did the USAF, US Navy & US Marine Corps aircraft 'switch' to medium-level flight altitudes. From Day 1, the F-117A and F-15E included, the US-led strike packages were ALL conducted from medium-level flight altitudes. While the Iraqi air defences around Iraqi air bases were degraded by using standoff PGMs (the Tomahawk cruise missiles), FYI the air defences around Iraqi troop concentrations bordering Saudi Arabia and KTO could not be sufficiently degraded and consequently, even on the last day of OP Desert Storm the coalition forces suffered attrition losses, particularly the USMC AV-8B Harriers. Lastly, the reason the IAF too does not find the low-level flight profile operationally tenable any more (be it for the Jaguar IS or MiG-27M) is because such terrain-hugging flight profiles will not afford any degree of platform survivability anymore (at least after August this year), when the PAF begins inducting its four Saab 2000 AEW & C platforms.

Anonymous said...

You Highness Sir Sen Gupta, I beg to differ on your assertions that all US-led air strikes were “ALL conducted on medium level Day 1”.
While f-117 of course has obvious reasons to stay at medium level the same isn’t true of the Strike eagles. I can list a few sources that clearly mention the initial strikes being conducted at low levels. However, value of sources is a relative thing and you will probably just question them, neither is this the right place for any detailed discussion. I shall list a few brief sources:

1. “ In particular, RAF and U.S. Navy aircraft which flew at low altitudes to avoid radar were particularly badly hit-Atkinson, Rick (2003).” frontline: the gulf war: chronology

2. “In the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War, low altitude attacks were the norm, though this led to unacceptable losses to ground-based air defenses. As a result, the air force switched to delivering munitions from medium to high altitudes, resulting in a drop-off in losses.”- https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/print.php?template=C05&CID=1303

In fact, I also very clearly recall Gen Charles Chuck Horner (Every Man a Tiger, 1999) explaining in some details about the “switch” to medium level once air superiority was achieved. A similar switch was also made rather late by the British (after 24th Jan to be precise) who were suffering casualties coz of their low level tactics.

As the British commander in the Gulf General Sir Peter de la Billiere admitted :

“The RAF are having a bad time, with heavy losses in percentage terms compared with the Allies. It could be they've got the wrong philosophy ultra-low-approach for this sort of campaign. Very understandable, and of course the US spend far more on their aircraft. We approach at 900 kph, down to a hundred feet, while the US come in at 10,000 feet plus and are above the Triple A [anti-aircraft artillery] and flying easy.”- STORM COMMAND, by General Sir Peter de la Billiere, HarperCollins, 1992, p. 229.

Us Navy too initially flew low levels and first decided to switch to medium level after A-6 loss on the 18th, which was the cause of recriminations against low altitude tactics. (Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, 1993)

To insist that all strikes flown in Gulf were medium and high level from Day One is gross falsification of facts, Period.

P.S.: While Pakistan may acquire any number of AEW aircraft, no one can guarantee an AEW platform to be on station 24/7 covering every sector, thus ensuring a window for low level ingresses. The general transition to mid level has more to do with proliferation of MANPADS and other quick reaction defences than AWACS.

Anonymous said...

A Much Ado About……………Low Level

“Nor did the USAF, US Navy & US Marine Corps aircraft 'switch' to medium-level flight altitudes. From Day 1, the F-117A and F-15E included, the US-led strike packages were ALL conducted from medium-level flight altitudes.” –H.H. Sir P K Sen Gupta

Following is a piece about gen Charles Chuck Horner elaborating on INITIAL LOW LEVEL missions flown in 1991 Gulf war by USAF.( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/gulf/oral/horner/5.html)

Relevant excerpts from Interview with Gen. Horner:

Q: You let your guys fly low on the first night.
Horner: What happened is I ordered the Air Force guys that they could not go low level unless they could justify it. Two of the wing commanders came to me and pleaded their case, the 111s and the F15E guys. When you think about it, it's a two-seat airplane where half the crew is dedicated towards navigating to the target - I think that had something to sway their opinion, they didn't know it, but they were receiving the word from their crews they had to fly at low altitude. Both of those systems immediately got out of the low altitude environment after they saw all the bullets going past the canopies.

Q: After the first night, when it came to low flying with the United States Air Force, what happened?
Horner: After the first night, the airplanes that went in at low altitude learned the lesson very quickly and we saw them for the most part come up out of the low altitude environment .. yeah, they might have flown around at low altitude trying to evade radar, acquisition radars, but when they got near a target or near a defended area, they weren't at low altitude.

It is evident from the above piece that regardless of the utterances of Great Sir Sen Gupta, USAF strike components DID fly low level on the first few days of the Gulf War. AND a switch to medium level was subsequently made. I rest my case.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@6.54PM: "....Both of those systems immediately got out of the low altitude environment after they saw all the bullets going past the canopies."
"Us Navy too initially flew low levels and first decided to switch to medium level after A-6 loss on the 18th, which was the cause of recriminations against low altitude tactics. (Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, 1993)"
-----------------------------
Thanks for proving my point with the above-mentioned anecdotes. As the quotes indicate, the air campaign kicked off on the 17th and by the 18th (following day) low-level flight profiles for tactical and deep interdiction by the USAF, USN and USMC had ceased. Therefore, you're contradicting yourself when you say:..."USAF strike components DID fly low level on the first few days of the Gulf War."
PS: Thanks for the knighthood.

To Anon@5:21PM: The eight AEW & C platforms (4 x Saab 2000 AEW & C and 4 x ZDK-03) being secured by the PAF will ensure that there will be 24/7 airspace surveillance over what the PAF sees as its strategic airspace, VAs and VPs.

Anonymous said...

We all know who is self-contradicting Sir Sen Gupta. I did manage to demonstrate what I set out to, that is you don’t know much about what you talk about. You mentioned some specific things as I quoted above and they turned out to be wrong. I neither have time nor patience to start and sustain a childish tug of war here. Your blogs are full of inaccuracies but they do make for entertaining reads. So, good bye and good luck.
P.S: I stand by the fact that PAF like any other air arm cannot guarantee that AEW will be available 24/7, asoppossed to your arm chair picture perfect world, systems break down/malfunction. As for the Knighting, the pleasure wasn’t mine at all.

Anonymous said...

To those who are talking about when next 40 are coming,
Read the article
It says " completed successfully"
Its a PS job on the photo and is not an upgraded Mig-27. Its made to look like the russian upgrade of the same

Anonymous said...

Hi Shiv/Prasun. Totally on another topic.
Read somewhere that now 5 Sqdns of Jaguars (in addition to Sqdn No 6 / Maritime)with the IAF......... Sqdn 224. Is it so ????

Anonymous said...

Ok so we are fitting lightning pods to our su-30,jag's and now to mig-27's.But can some one tell me from where all the LGB for all these aircraft are coming from ?
As far as i know we had some paveways delivered with the mirage-2000s and the IAF hasn't bought any after that .

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@3.46PM: The IAF's first LGBs were acquired in the mid-1980s along with the Mirage 2000H/TH and ATLIS-2 LDP. Those LGBs were called BGL and were supplied by MATRA (now merged into MBDA). Thne came the US-origin LGB guidance kits and that was followed in 2002 by additional kits from Elbit Systems. By 2005 the IAF was negotiating with RAFAEL for acquiring 1,000lb LGBs with bunker-bursting capabilities, which were a year later used by the IDF-AF against Hezbollah in southern Beirut. All in all, about 15,000 LGBs are now in the IAF's inventory, along with 200 1980s vintage AS-30L laser-guided missiles from MBDA, as well as Kh-29Ls from Russia. The Su-30MKIs have been armed with the Elbit Systems-supplied LGBs. Their flight qualification, like that of the Popeye-Lite, was done in India by the IAF's ASTE.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Anon@11:13PM: Thanks for unilaterally deserting the battlefield. You've just re-confirmed my point. Greatly distressed to see my knighthood being revoked within 24 hours. You giveth and you taketh away...(sigh)

Anonymous said...

Anon@3.46PM here
Thanks for the info Prasun K Sengupta .But i feel 15000 is too large a number,it would be nice if you could point out any literature on this regard.

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