Indian Sea Harriers

Profile picture for user PhantomII

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,989

With all the talk of the MiG-29K and the new carrier, etc. it seems that the Indian Navy's stalwart Sea Harrier force has been a bit forgotten as of late although I do know they are performing an pretty serious upgrade on the fleet. Can anyone provide some details and even better perhaps some photos of the the upgraded birds? Recent shots in particular are welcome especially if they have Derby missiles or other such interesting stuff. Let's talk about the Sea Harrier.....it may be gone from the Royal Navy, but it's not out of the skies yet!
Original post

Member for

14 years 6 months

Posts: 1,071

Hey Benyboy, nice work! Never seen those before; newer pics of the Shars are not easily forthcoming. Here is one (and the only one I know of) with the Derby, multiple ejector racks + 3 pylons: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_4oBKlv5UVEA/SzMCTvJ-ZjI/AAAAAAAAIWg/16O-qlMUPAw/s1600/PrezViraat.jpg USS. OK I think there are still only 2 pylons - the outboard ones have a funky arrangement and almost look as though there are under each wing.
Profile picture for user Al

Member for

9 years 8 months

Posts: 1,190

My brother-in-law, who served in the FAA from around 1960 to the late 1980s, worked on Sea Harriers at EGDY, and also aboard HMS Hermes during the Falklands war. I remember him telling me that the FAA at Yeovilton came up with a title for the unit involved in training Indian Sea Harrier pilots - the Sea Harrier Indian Training Unit, but this was scrubbed when they realised what the acronym spelled out....

Member for

11 years 2 months

Posts: 228

The Sea Harrier has not entirely gone from RN service - quite a few are still in MOD/RN hands, and some are used for training aircraft handlers at Culdrose - at the RNSFDO Dummy Deck. It is possible that given ample warnings, and political will, some could be regenerated in a REAL crisis. However, day to day the loss of the Sea Harriers means the CVS flight deck crews are not used to dealing with a deck full of jets - hence asking the USMC to help us ramp up our carrier skills. These issues were/are discussed at length on the PPRuNe Sea Jet thread. As to Indian Sea Harriers, supposedly the upgrade was meant to extend their possible life until 2020 and beyond. Additionally spares are still being made for the mighty Sea Jet.
Profile picture for user zoot horn rollo

Member for

14 years 1 month

Posts: 1,497

Sorry, where does it say in that article that we asked the USMC to do anything? I seem to recall that we have always been involved in cross deck training exercises eg when our Phantoms burnt holes in US carrier decks.
Profile picture for user PhantomII

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,989

So what other improvements outside of Derby and the EL/M-2032 radar are being implemented. Any photos of the new cockpit layout? Other new weapons? Any IR AAM to replace the Magic II?
Profile picture for user Kramer

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 1,031

So what other improvements outside of Derby and the EL/M-2032 radar are being implemented. Any photos of the new cockpit layout? Other new weapons? Any IR AAM to replace the Magic II?
it wasn't supposed to be a deep upgrade- which is why it was called a "Limited Upgrade of Sea Harrier" (LUSH). The cockpit wasn't modified by changing the analog dials and instruments to MFDs. The major additions were a digital cockpit voice recorder and ACMI recorder..I'm guessing that it meant that the existing radar display of the Blue Fox radar was still in use even though the radar was changed..I may be wrong here though. you can see the LUSH SHar here as well during the ceremony for the induction of the MiG-29K. Regarding replacing Magic-IIs, I don't think they did anything for that..the obvious choice would've been Python Vs as they're quite similar to the Derby, but my guess is that they felt that the existing stocks of Magic-IIs would last till the SHar itself retired. I know that for the Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fleets, they're actively looking for replacements, so it could be that the IN has its own stockpiles that may have a different shelf life end date

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 3,614

The cockpit wasn't modified by changing the analog dials and instruments to MFDs. ..... I'm guessing that it meant that the existing radar display of the Blue Fox radar was still in use even though the radar was changed..I may be wrong here though.
Probably a new display designed to fit into the slot for the old one (with a new cable harness), as a "minimum-change" upgrade.
Profile picture for user PhantomII

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,989

What about self protection systems? Do they currently have any (chaff/flares, RWR, ECM, etc.?) Aside from the Derby/Magic II combo, what other weapon types are carried outside of the the Aden cannons or is air defense strictly the name of the game?

Member for

13 years 2 months

Posts: 1,560

What about self protection systems? Do they currently have any (chaff/flares, RWR, ECM, etc.?) Aside from the Derby/Magic II combo, what other weapon types are carried outside of the the Aden cannons or is air defense strictly the name of the game?
They have Tarang mkII RWR , chaff and flares.ECM - EL/L 8222 They can carry two Sea Eagle AShMs. LUSH was about giving the IN SHars a BVR capability. LUSH patch
Profile picture for user PhantomII

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 7,989

So the Sea Eagle is still a part of the Indian inventory? What other munitions are carried? Standard British dumb bombs and SNEB rocket pods I assume?...or do IN SHAR pilots not train for a conventional air-to-ground role?
Profile picture for user Nicolas10

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 4,472

Was there ever any interest in getting some of the FA2 sea harriers and upgrading the rest of the indian fleet to that standard? I could see how the purchase of the AIM120 could be an issue, but derby or some other BVR weapon could surely be integrated if the US decided not to sell AMRAAM. Mica could even replace the Magic II at the same time. Nic
Profile picture for user swerve

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 13,434

Do keep up! This has been discussed here, at length. When the UK announced that the FA2 was being withdrawn from service, India started negotiating to buy several. At the time, India was already planning to upgrade its existing SHARs with EL/M-2032 & Derby. The UK made it clear, from the start, that under our contract with the USA we couldn't sell on AIM-120, & Blue Vixen (for reasons that remain unclear), was not for export. The aircraft were offered without radars, ready for refitting with EL/M-2032. I presume the British negotiators thought that India would be happy to have a fleet of SHARs all with the same radar & missiles. After months of negotiations, India decided not to buy them, citing as the reason that AIM-120 & Blue Vixen weren't included. :confused:
Profile picture for user Nicolas10

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 4,472

Sorry there are topics that I don't follow at all here :o It's a bit odd, but had then been able to buy them with blue vixen and AMRAAM, maybe they would have updated the rest of the fleet with those instead of derby and the EL/M 2032. It's quite silly on the part of the USA to not allow for the sale of the AMRAAM, which could pave the way for a US design in the future (SH?). Nic
Profile picture for user swerve

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 13,434

It's not a question of the USA not allowing the sale of SHARs with AMRAAM. It's standard terms: if you want to buy US weapons, you have to get them from the USA, or the supplier has to get permission to re-export them. If India wanted AMRAAM, it could buy it direct from the USA as easily as getting a re-export permit. Also, in this case, the UK had no interest in exporting the AMRAAMs. We need them ourselves. As for upgrading the rest of the fleet - well, that was too late. India had already decided on the EL/M-2032 & Derby upgrade.
Profile picture for user Nicolas10

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 4,472

I don't quite understand your point about the AMRAAM, as I'm well aware that india would need permission from the US, but of course if the upgrade had already been decided it didn't make sense to have two different versions of SHar. Nic
Profile picture for user swerve

Member for

14 years 4 months

Posts: 13,434

The point is that for the Indians to claim that the UK not selling AMRAAM was a bar to buying our FA2s was silly. They knew from the start that - 1) to buy it they needed to ask the Yanks, not us. 2) we didn't have any spare to sell.
Profile picture for user Kramer

Member for

9 years 6 months

Posts: 1,031

Frankly we don't know what caused the deal to not go forward..Maybe it was more to do with the refusal to sell the Blue Vixen radar on the SHar FA2 than the AMRAAM. What was the logic of refusing to sell those radars when in a couple of years they'd be bending over backwards trying to sell Typhoons instead with its more modern Captor and now an AESA ? India could've approached the US separately for AMRAAMs if the UK had approved selling Blue Vixen but not its AMRAAMs..as it stood, using any other BVRAAM other than the AMRAAM would cost money for integration and testing so if the IN wasn't going to get AMRAAM from UK or US, then all they would care for would be the airframe which they could upgrade themselves with the Elta 2032 and Derby. The original plan was also that the Viraat would retire by 2012 or so and by then the Vikramaditya would come in..so, the SHar FA2 would've only been used for a few years and then retired so maybe that short period when they'd need SHars meant that they lost interest in purchasing spare airframes. they may not have expected to have such long delays on the Gorshkov, which would necessitate the Viraat staying on in sevice for a few more years. so they felt that as the MiG-29K would anyway come in around 2010, instead of buying SHar FA2s, modifying them with the Elta 2032 and then keeping them in service for 3-4 years, it was better simply not to buy them without the on-board radar.

Member for

13 years 2 months

Posts: 1,560

So the Sea Eagle is still a part of the Indian inventory? What other munitions are carried? Standard British dumb bombs and SNEB rocket pods I assume?...or do IN SHAR pilots not train for a conventional air-to-ground role?
SHars do carry Matra pods and dumb bombs. As far as the Sea Eagle is concerned there has been many a talk of replacing those but they still remain in service with SHars , Sea Kings and maritime Jags.If I recall correctly there were some news regarding purchase of test batch of 20 - 24 harpoons.Most probably they are for the Jags and SeaKings and I dont think they are going to fit it into the SHars because they are going to be retired in a few years. IN SHar pilots have to separately qualify for both land based and carrier based ops.