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Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal, as Indian fighters set to surpass the capabilities of Chinese fighters with WS-10 engine

Source : Livemint

Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal, as Indian fighters set to surpass the capabilities of Chinese fighters with WS-10 engine
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Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal, as Indian fighters set to surpass the capabilities of Chinese fighters with WS-10 engine

The GE-HAL F-414 engine manufacturing deal has brought great joy to the armed forces and national security planners due to the engine’s exceptional performance and technological superiority.

As per a report by HT, this achievement is particularly significant as it surpasses the capabilities of the Chinese indigenously produced jet engine, the WS-10. It should be noted that the WS-10 engine is derived from the Russian AL-31 series engine, which currently powers the SU-30 MKI fighters.

According to information obtained from national security planners, former Indian Air Force chiefs, and fighter pilots, the Hindustan Times has learned that the Chinese fighters, including the J-20, are currently equipped with variants of the Shenyang WS-10 engine.

However, intelligence reports and assessments suggest that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is facing challenges related to the serviceability, downtime, and overall performance of these engines.

In an effort to overcome these issues, China is currently conducting tests on the WS-15 engine, which is intended to be installed on the J-20 aircraft. The WS-15 engine is expected to provide the fighter with a “super cruise” capability, allowing it to fly at supersonic speeds without using the afterburner. This feature is crucial for a stealth fifth-generation fighter, as it helps reduce the heat signature of the aircraft.

“It is quite evident that the Chinese reverse-engineered the Russian AL-31 engine to produce the WS-10 series of jet engines. The Indian assessment based on performance of Chinese aircraft in Pakistan inventory and PLAAF aircraft shows that the engine is facing issues albeit it is flying and performing. The Chinese are prone to overstating the performance of their fighters through the state owned media,” said a former IAF chief.

During the height of the stand-off in East Ladakh, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) deployed the J-20 fighters to the western theatre command as a response to India’s acquisition of Rafale jets. However, it has been reported that the J-20, touted as a fifth-generation fighter, was not extensively used for actual flying operations.

Despite India’s unsuccessful attempts since 1996 to develop its own indigenous engine, national security planners are satisfied with GE’s proposal to manufacture F-414 engines in India under a technology transfer arrangement. These engines will be used to power the Tejas Mark II fighter aircraft, with the potential for future upgrades to manufacture higher-thrust engines.

The collaborative effort between the Indian Air Force (IAF), Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has led to the development of a Tejas Mark II demonstrator equipped with the GE-414 engine, which is expected to take flight in the coming year. All parties involved are in agreement regarding the high-performance capabilities of the American GE-414 engine.

“While there is no doubt that the Chinese capability on jet engine manufacturing is growing by the day, no neutral air force would buy a WS-10 engine as its first choice. Even though the Chinese system is opaque, the jet aircraft of Chinese origin with the Pakistan Air Force are facing downtime and serviceability issues. Although the proof of the pudding lies in eating, the Chinese engine would be 60 per cent of what the PLAAF is projecting as they still rely on Russian fighters to show their muscle against Taiwan,” said a top fighter pilot.

Since 2012, India has been engaged in negotiations with the United States regarding the manufacture of F-414 jet engines under a 100% Transfer of Technology (TOT) agreement.

However, it was the combined effort of former DRDO and IAF chiefs, along with the guidance of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that ultimately secured the deal with the Biden administration this month. The agreement has garnered attention in Washington and is often referred to as the “Doval Deal” due to Ajit Doval’s significant role in its successful conclusion. Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal Indian Air Force in joy over F-414 engine deal IgMp

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