PM Modi’s visit to US: Aircraft engine technology top of agenda

India and the US are slowly getting closer to signing a military jet engine, as reports suggest.

The crucial aircraft engine technology transfer deal will be discussed during US Defense Secretary Llyod James Austin’s visit to New Delhi next week.

However, the mega-military deal will be announced next month during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the US, according to the sources.

Relations between the US and India are getting stronger in defense and space with the launch of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology.

President Biden and Prime Minister Modi announced in May 2022 the US-India Critical and Emerging Technology Initiative (iCET) to enhance and expand the strategic technology partnership and defense industrial cooperation between the governments, businesses and academic institutions of our two countries. expand.

Through the standing mechanism under iCET, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval pledged to accelerate opportunities for advanced technical collaborations.

While discussion took place in a number of areas – including artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and advanced wireless communications – to build robust innovation, talk of jet engines remained at the top of the list.

The focus remains on the procurement of GE F414, which will power Indian fighter jets including the Tejas Mk II, Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and the indigenous Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) for the Indian Navy.

Speaking about the plan, Youngje Kim, Vice President, Indo-Pacific Region, GE Aviation told Financial Express about the aircraft engine development plan to support Make in India by building meaningful partnerships.

“You must have seen the recent media coverage of how we have submitted proposals to the US government to support the LCA Mk 2. While we have yet to obtain the license for the world market, we intend to produce a very significant portion of that engine here. in India. In addition, maintenance, repair and overhaul will also be done in the country,” he said.

But since there are two very different platforms: the AMCA and LCA Mk 2, how will it unfold?

GE has already signed the contract for the LCA TEJAS Mk 2.

“A long time ago we were selected to develop the 414 INS 6 specifically for LCA Mk 2. That development is complete. Delays only occurred in the design of the aircraft. But I think there is now final approval and they are moving forward with the Mark 2 program,” Kim explains.

“They can use the engine as it has already been developed. We intend to manufacture that engine here in India as it is not only sufficient for the LCA Mark 2 but also meets the requirements for future applicants such as the AMCA,” he clarifies.

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