Reports emerged from Aero India 2011 that Rolls Royce planned not to participate in the Indian Air Force Jaguar re-engining competition. The sense you get from the reports is that Rolls Royce has problems with the fact that this is an engine replacement programme rather than an engine upgrade, which if true, would be problematic. Why? Well, as far as the current competition is concerned, the Jaguar engine competition wasn’t strictly meant to be an upgrade. It was in fact to be be an engine replacement or “re-engining” effort.
Here, according to my sources, are the facts as they stand now: Rolls Royce’s offer was “an optimised cost effective/low risk Adour ‘engine upgrade programme which would minimise aircraft integration and would utilise the existing Adour infrastructure in HAL”, which basically means that the company had offered to replace/upgrade certain key components and subsystems in the Jaguar fleet’s existing Mk811 engines to bring them up to the required performance parameters. In effect, this would be a selective engine upgrade, and not a full replacement. However, the RFP that went out called for a full engine replacement (a point confirmed at the IAF chief’s press conference at Aero India). I’m not completely clear yet why the Mk821 can’t just be offered as an engine replacement for the Jaguars. The commonality advantage would still, conceivably, exist wouldn’t it?
Either way, the situation leaves Honeywell the sole competitor in the 200-engine competition. Does this mean the process gets aborted? Or can the IAF push through a single-vendor purchase?