NEW DELHI: The General Electric (GE.N) aerospace division announced on June 22 that it had reached an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), a state-owned company in India, to jointly manufacture engines in India for the Indian Air Force’s fighter jets.
The timing of the announcement was chosen to coincide with the historic trip that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took this week to the United States.
The most significant of several agreements that are anticipated to be concluded between the two countries or their businesses during Modi’s visit, which ends on Friday, has been dubbed “historic” and “trailblazing” by officials. The engine’s significance to India’s military is outlined in the following facts and figures.
The engine’s significance to India’s military is outlined in the following facts and figures.
The GE engine being referred to is known as the F414 and it has been utilized by U.S. Naval force aeroplanes for over 30 years.
In the United States, Sweden, Australia, Kuwait, Brazil, South Korea, India, and Indonesia, the F414 drives or can be requested to control aircraft. GE says it has conveyed more than 1,600 F414 motors and they have timed more than 5 million flight hours. Additionally, it is produced in South Korea.
NEED OF INDIA
Since the 1980s, India has struggled to produce an engine for its indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft. In the middle of the 2000s, Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) used GE’s F404 engine, which was the predecessor to the F414 engine, to power Tejas. 75 F404 engines have already been delivered, and 99 more are being ordered for the Tejas Mark 1 for $716 million.
A larger engine is required for the more powerful Tejas Mark 2, which is still in development. For this program, HAL has acquired eight F414 engines. Additionally, the F414 will be utilized in the creation of India’s upcoming Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.
India’s Air Force is desperately trying to strengthen its fighter squadrons, which have dropped from 42 to 31. To keep costs under control and avoid becoming reliant on a foreign supplier, New Delhi hopes to achieve its goal using domestically produced jets with domestically produced engines.
COOPERATION OF U.S.A
India and the United States, which were once on opposing sides of the Cold War, have grown closer over the past two decades and are forming a strong bond based on geopolitical alignment and partnerships in technology, defence, and trade, as well as trade.
India was named a “major defence partner” by Washington in 2016, and New Delhi’s military purchases from the United States will have increased to $20 billion by 2020 from almost nothing in 2008. India is the world’s largest arms importer and faces dual military threats from China and Pakistan.
It has always gotten its arms from its old friend Russia, but over the years it has also gotten them from France, Israel, and the United States, among other places. As a response to China’s growing global influence, Washington has attempted to strengthen ties with New Delhi. It is also willing to grant India access to crucial American technologies, such as F414—which it rarely shares with non-allies—and wants to wean India away from Russian military supplies.
The Next Big Thing: What’s Next?
The agreement between GE and HAL to co-produce F414 engines in India requires approval from the U.S. government and legislature. It is currently unknown how much of the F414’s technology GE will share with HAL, or whether this includes sensitive technology for managing extremely high engine temperatures.
While HAL establishes a production facility for the F414 in India, the initial engines are anticipated to be delivered from the United States over the next three years. In 2026, the first Tejas Mark 2 is anticipated to take off. Tejas Mark 2 and F414 are not expected to be produced at full scale until the early part of the next decade.