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Omani air force to upgrade Jaguars

The Sultanate of Oman's 20 SEPECAT Jaguar strike aircraft are to be upgraded in a $68-million programme to match the latest UK Royal Air Force standards.

Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency will act as prime contractor for the upgrade, which will extend the life of the Omani Jaguars well into the 21st century.

It includes updating the avionics and navigation systems; installing the Thermal Imaging Airborne Laser Designator (TIALD) targeting system, developed by DERA and GEC-Marconi before the Gulf War; and new cockpit displays.

This is the first export sale of the upgrade.

The work will be carried out by Royal Air Force of Oman personnel, managed jointly with the RAF, and is due to be completed by the end of 2000.

British companies involved in the agreement are GEC-Marconi, British Aerospace and Ultra Electronics.

DERA's role in the Oman upgrade will primarily be the development and testing of the aircraft's operational flight programmes using the newly-built Jaguar mission avionics rig at its Boscombe Down airfield.

The Royal Air Force's current Jaguar 1997 upgrade was designed by DERA at Boscombe Down and includes new displays and computers; a helmet-mounted sight; global positioning and terrain-referenced navigation system; 400-series TIALD pod; HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick); and a1553B databus.

The RAF is also procuring a new integrated mission planning system.