Possibilities of co-producing jet engines which will power India’s indigenous fighter jets have intensified ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US next month.
At the recently concluded meeting of the 17th meeting of India-U.S. Defence Policy Group (DPG) in Washington DC last week, chaired by Indian Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane and Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Dr Colin Kahl last week co-producing the jet engines, infantry vehicles and long-range artillery were on the agenda.
Collaboration mechanisms within co-development and co-production are being considered by both countries under the initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) which was announced earlier this year. This was launched as both countries have elevated their strategic partnership and are now ready to work together in different aspects of deepening cooperation in important sectors like military, space and maritime domain.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier this year that both India and the US have joined hands on critical technology including Quantum, Semiconductors, space and more. The announcement was made during the inaugural meeting in the presence of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and the counterpart Jake Sullivan.
General Electric (GE) proposal
Officials have confirmed that the proposal made by the US engine manufacturer GE has sent an application to the US Congress to manufacture its GE-414 engine in India under license which has already been identified to power India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-MK2. Also the US based engine manufacturer is ready to jointly produce jet engines for India’s future
Due to the US domestic legislations, earlier efforts to jointly develop and build the jet engines under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) failed following which the Joint Working Group working on that project had to be wound up.
Financial Express Online has reported earlier this year that the US based General Electric (GE) has sent an application to the US Congress seeking approval to jointly manufacture GE-414 engines in India. And to transfer total technology to HAL for licensed production of the engine to power India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-MK2.
The American company is also keen to participate in another project of producing engines for India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). The American engine manufacturer is competing with the French Safran and Roll Royce of the UK.
Are engine companies interested in co-production of engines for LCA/AMCA?
Yes. According to sources, global engine manufacturers are keen to participate in the co-production and co-development of engines for the indigenous fighter jets which are going to be built by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
“The global engine manufacturers are in the process of competing for the AMCA engine and we are expecting a decision regarding the same soon,” a source in the defence and security establishment confirmed to Financial Express Online.
The GE deal for co-production of the engines for the LCA-Mk2 is expected to be firmed up soon. And, then India will join the elite group of four countries in the world which make engines for the jet engines. The announcement is expected to be made when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Washington DC in June.
On getting approval from its government, GE will transfer technology for building engines for LCA Mk2 fighter jets which is an advanced version of the LCA-Mk1. The Indian Air Force is flying the LCA-Mk1 being manufactured by HAL at its facility in Bengaluru.