Source : OpIndia
India and US are all set to advance their defence cooperation. In collaboration with the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and an unnamed private manufacturer of defence equipment, the Joe Biden administration has already given the green light for General Electric (GE), a world leader in military jet engines, to produce 98 kilo-newton thrust GE-F414 engines in India.
Both the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, which is now under construction and will have twin engines, and the LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Mark II will be powered by the India-specific GE-414 INS6 engine, which will be introduced by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) early next year and enter service by the end of 2024.
According to a Hindustan times (HT) report, the GE-414 engine will be produced under conditions that involve a complete transfer of technology (ToT). A high-level team of the Indian govt, which is now in the US under the leadership of NSA (National Security Advisor) Ajit Doval, is anticipated to finalize the contract during their stay.
DRDO director Samir V Kamat, principal scientific adviser Ajay Sood, secretary (telecom) K Rajaram, and scientific adviser to Raksha Mantri Satheesh Reddy have also joined Doval in the bilateral discussion on “Critical and Emerging Technologies” with US NSA Jake Sullivan.
Senior US officials, including Sullivan, attended a dinner on a Monday night sponsored by the Indian ambassador Taranjit Sandhu, where Doval stressed the importance of turning intentions and ideas into specific deliverables through targeted efforts taken in a timely manner.
Then DRDO chief Satheesh Reddy had travelled to the US in May 2022 on NSA Doval’s orders. He held meetings with Terry Emmert, the principal deputy chief technology officer for mission capabilities, and Heidi Shyu, the US undersecretary of defence for research and engineering, to discuss 100% domestic production of GE-414 engines.
The 4.5 generation Mark II Tejas, which would replace the Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 aircraft and carry roughly 6.5 tonnes of missiles and munitions, will be powered by the GE-414 engine in place of the 4+ generation LCA Tejas Mark I’s GE-404 engine. A replacement for the MiG-21, the LAC Mark I can only carry 3.5 tonnes of missiles and ammunition and has half the operational range and warfighting capability of the Mark II.
For the Indian Air Force, India intends to construct more than six squadrons (each squadron has 18 aircraft), and it also intends to export the fighter to other interested nations.
The twin-engine Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) being developed by ADA, the nodal agency under DRDO for the development of LCAs, will likewise be powered by the GE-414 engine. The aircraft’s carrier-based navy version of the fighter is anticipated to take to the skies by the end of this decade.
The foundation for future cooperative design, research, and production of high-powered engines over 110 KN thrust between two countries will be set by the Biden administration’s approval of GE for 100% manufacturing TOT. Not only will this serve as a demonstration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atamanirbhar Bharat’ mission, but it will also elevate India to a position of prominence among nations that produce both military and commercial aircraft.
The US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies’ specifics, which were made public on Tuesday, support Washington’s overall objective of enhancing military, technological, and supply-chain ties with allies.
Taking to Twitter, The Indian Embassy in the United States posted information about the crucial development.
Along with GE engines, other essential and developing technologies covered by the project include semiconductors, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, armoured infantry vehicles, and marine security. The initiative is also seen as American administration’s move to veer New Delhi away from Russia and oppose China.
In September, President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit India for the summit of the Group of 20 leaders. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will then meet him in Australia for a meeting of the Quad security partners (US, India, Australia and Japan).