Final pact to be signed soon, the engines will be fitted in Indian Air Force’s indigenous fighter jet TEJAS MK-2

CHENNAI: The much-talked-about India-US jet engine-related transfer of technology deal is expected to get inked soon and it will lead to the production of the engines “within three years”. Under the deal 110 KN (kilonewton) engine will be jointly produced in India. “We are ready to sign the agreement soon and within three years, India will have this engine,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Defence.

While the cost of the project is yet to be discussed, the number of engines to be co-produced will be around 100, sources said as the Indian Air Force has not yet indicated the exact numbers. The deal is viewed as significant as India lacks in engine-related technology and with time, it will be sought even more as the Air Force is already down to around 30 combat squadrons as against a sanctioned strength of 42. While the GE-F414 engines are to be fitted in the TEJAS MK-2, the work on twin-engine deck-based fighters and advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) is also proceeding.

The senior MoD official said the significance of the GE-HAL deal for 414 engine lies in the fact the India would get access to cutting-edge technologies. “India did achieve some successes in getting important technologies from Russia, the UK, and France. But GE-F414 deal is at a different level and scale. It is unprecedented in the history of India’s quest for high-tech.”

Technologies related to nuclear power, jet engines, submarine production, aircraft carrier and ballistic missiles are among the critical defence technologies in general. “We acquired some of these by the hard work of our scientists and initiatives at the political level,” sources said. This deal, said the sources, shows the amount of trust India has drawn across the higher echelons in the US, reflected in the way it received bipartisan support.

“With this deal we will have 80% transfer of technology in making GE-F414 engine, which will enhance operational performance of TEJAS MK-2. As much as 80% of the engine will be made in India, except small components. India will be among the top five countries to have this technology,” defence experts say. The benefits of this joint manufacturing within India will include less turnaround time for maintenance, repair and overhaul.

Under the deal, some of the critical technologies to which India will get access are special coatings for corrosion, machining and coating for single crystal for turbine blades, machining & coating of nozzle guide vanes, Blisk machining, machining of powder metallurgy discs, machining of thin-walled titanium casing, laser drilling technology for combustor and much more.

As per a source, the deal also showed India’s intellectual capabilities indicating how much the US trusts our IPR regime and that such tech would not fall in wrong hands. The US showed confidence in our military systems also.

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi hailed the landmark signing of the MoU between General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the manufacture of GE-F414 jet engines in India, for the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited TEJAS MK-2.

In addition, the leaders, in a joint statement, welcomed the setting up and launch of the US-India Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X). As a network of universities, start-ups, industry and think tanks, INDUS-X will facilitate joint defence technology innovation, and co-production of advanced defence technology between the respective industries of the two countries.

President Biden and PM Modi welcomed India’s plans to procure General Atomics MQ-9B HALE UAVs. The MQ-9Bs, which will be assembled in India, will enhance the ISR capabilities of India’s armed forces across domains. As part of this plan, General Atomics will also establish a comprehensive global MRO facility in India in support of India’s long-term goals to boost indigenous defence capabilities.

Cutting-Edge Tech Comes Home

Special coatings for corrosion
Casting, machining and coating for single crystal for turbine blades
Casting, machining and coating of nozzle guide vanes and other hot parts
Blisk machining
Forging and power metallurgy discs for turbines
Machining of thin-walled titanium casing
Friction inertia welding for fan and after-burner
Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC) for bypass polymer duct
Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) for LPNGV, flaps, etc
Laser drilling technology for combustor
Critical tech for internal components