Amidst the India-China standoff in Ladakh, India is pursuing to hasten development and procurement of indigenous weaponry to counter a perceptible Chinese threat. India may finally get its first indigenous jet engine which may power the country's fifth generation advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA)

As per reports in the media, the DRDO is planning a new fighter jet engine complex under the offset clause of the Rafale fighter deal with France.

DRDO is said to be in advanced discussions to build a brand new a 110 kilo newton engine for India's future fighter jets, which will be able to power the future class of advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA).

This plan to power India's 5th generation fighter jet with an indigenous engine is in line with the Indian Air Force's (IAF) demand to ensure self-reliance.

Under the program, the new engine complex will take up to seven years to produce the new turbofans after development begins. French engine manufacturer Safran is offering a complete technology transfer to develop the engine and to use the offset credits from the French Dassault Rafale deal. Safran is a French multinational aircraft engine, rocket engine, aerospace-component and defence company, which has had long and close association with Indian defence manufactures and the MoD.

Safran is also tying up with HAL to provide the technology for high thrust engine manufacturing.

HAL is also likely to be part of the 110kn engine project as a manufacturing partner. The air force is keen that the future AMCA fighter jet be powered by an indigenous engine to ensure self reliance. While the first squadron of the AMCA fighters would need a foreign engine due to timelines, future squadrons would be powered by an Indian engine, which could possibly be christened the Kaveri.

"We are signing an agreement related to the technology needed for high thrust engine manufacturing. The technology will be common to the Rafale engines that can be supported by us and would also be useful for the 110 kn engine project", the HAL Chairman R Madhavan has been quoted as saying.

The new engines may equip the future squadrons of the IAF, as they would not be ready for the AMCA fighters, however, HAL has contracted for the American made GE F414 engines to run the AMCA test programs. and also for the first lot of initial squadrons. The new engine complex will be a step forward for India to lessen its dependence on Russia and other Western nations for fighter jet engines. Another significant factor would be the immense cost-cutting due to the development of a homegrown engine.

Our Bureau