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Fighter Jet engine deal with India to start this year: GE Aerospace’s Amy Gowder

Source : The Economic Times

Fighter Jet engine deal with India to start this year: GE Aerospace's Amy Gowder

Fighter Jet engine deal with India to start this year: GE Aerospace’s Amy Gowder

A fighter jet engine technology deal with the US, which was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington DC last year, is progressing on time and a detailed technical proposal to set up a manufacturing unit in India jointly with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) will be shared with the state-run company early this year, GE Aerospace Defence & Systems President Amy Gowder told ET.

In an exclusive interview, the top executive said the scope of the technology transfer to HAL will be higher than what GE has done with other partners and that options to export engines and components from India are firmly on the table. She added that GE is keen to participate in the development of next generation engines for India’s Advanced Multirole Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and has a technological advantage over competitors.

Speaking on the landmark pact to manufacture GE Aviation’s F414 INS6 engines in India with HAL as the lead partner that was announced during Modi’s visit to the US, Gowder said a detailed technology transfer process is underway.

“Early this year, we will have a proposal to them and that kicks off formalising the agreement with HAL and the government. We will bring over our engineers and supply chain resources to start the co-production. It will take most of this year to get it kicked off and going,” she said.

The timeframe for starting engine production will depend on the requirements of the Indian Air Force and Defence Research and Development Organisation but broad plans are to prepare for deliveries within three years.

Valued at nearly $1 billion, the deal will lead to an 80% technology transfer for the F414 engines, which will include coating for the hot end of the engine as well as crystal blades and laser drilling technology. The engines will power the Mk2 version of the Light Combat Aircraft as well as initial batches of AMCA. Currently, GE’s F404 engines power the under production LCA Mk1A version as well as in service LCA fighter jets of IAF.Gowder said GE has experience in technology transfer but has never done it to such an extent. “We have done this before with Korea and Turkey but never to this degree. So, it is a very special technology transfer for India. They (HAL) will have the most content than any other partner around the world,” she said.On prospects of the American company for an Indian requirement of next generation fighter engines with a thrust of at least 110 kilo newtons, Gowder said GE is actively working with the Indian government.

“We are honoured to be part of the prototype for the Mk1 version (of AMCA). F414 has to grow in thrust, capacity and performance, and would be an advantage to India and would be very well suited for the aircraft,” she said, expressing confidence in meeting the technology transfer requirements that India is likely to propose for production of the next generation engines.

“Because of our long history of integrating (engines) on indigenous platforms and because we are on the prototype of AMCA, we know we have the competence and can bring the technology that the Indian government wants,” the top executive said.

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