The RAF’s GR1 Jaguar fleet has recently undergone a major upgrade programme and the aircraft has been redesignated the Jaguar GR3. The upgrade gave the aircraft improved avionics, including global-positioning and terrain-referenced navigation systems integrated into the aircraft’s inertial navigation system, a military-standard 1553 databus, internal and external night-vision-goggle compatible lighting, and new head-up and head-down displays.
The weapons upgrade included a helmet-mounted sight and an Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) capability. The Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk 104 turbofan engines are being upgraded to the Adour Mk 106 engines, which are more powerful and economical than the Mk 104s, especially for high and hot operations. The aircraft can be deployed quickly anywhere in the world to conduct operations in the offensive counter air, air interdiction, close air support and tactical reconnaissance roles.
The RAF’s Jaguars are all based at RAF Coltishall, which is home for the three operational squadrons, Nos 6 Squadron, 41(F) and 54(F) Squadrons, and the Jaguar Operational Conversion Unit, No 16(R) Squadron. All three operational squadrons are able to conduct attack and reconnaissance operations, although Nos 6 and 54(F) Squadrons are primarily attack squadrons, while No 41(F) Squadron is primarily a reconnaissance squadron.
The Jaguar GR3 Fighter is capable of carrying 1000lb retard and freefall bombs, BL755 and RBL755 cluster bombs, Paveway II and Paveway III laser guided bombs (LGB) and CRV-7 rocket pods. For self-defence it is equipped with a Skyguardian radar warning receiver, an electronic counter measures pod, and chaff and flare dispensers. It can also carry two 30mm Aden cannons and two overwing mounted AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
The GR3 can be fitted with an external fuel tank on the centreline pylon, or two under-wing mounted tanks. In the reconnaissance role, the GR3A can carry the Joint Reconnaissance Pod, which contains various electronically scanned sensors, a number of electro-optical camera options and an Infrared Line Scanner. It can also carry the Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designation (TIALD) pod for self-designation or cooperative designation of targets during LGB operations. RAF Jaguars participated extensively in the Gulf War in 1991, and have subsequently been involved in many operations in the Middle East and the Balkans. They deploy regularly for exercises to North America, Europe and the Middle East, where they operate in diverse conditions ranging from deserts to arctic tundra.
Jaguar GR3 Specifications
Powerplant: Two Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour turbofans
Thrust: 8249lbs each
Wingspan: 8.69m (28ft 6ins)
Length: 16.83m (55ft 2ins)
Height: 4.89m (16ft 1ins)
Max T/O weight: 15,733kg (34,612lbs)
Fuel internal: 3344kg (7357lbs)
Fuel external: 2850kg (6270lbs) (three drop tanks)
Max speed: Mach 1.4
Max altitude: 46,000ft
• Operates in the offensive counter air, close air support and tactical reconnaissance roles.
• Recent major avionics, navigation and weapons systems upgrade.
• Full electro-optical reconnaissance capability at medium and low level.
• Carries laser target marking equipment for self-designation or cooperative designation.
• First RAF aircraft to be fitted with a helmet mounted missile sighting system.