The key defense deal between India and US has been sealed

The key defense deal between India and US has been sealed
The key defense deal between India and US has been sealed

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and US aerospace manufacturer E Aerospace to manufacture fighter aircraft engines for the Indian Air Force.

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The aerospace division of General Electric (GE.N) announced on Thursday that it had signed a contract to produce fighter aircraft engines for the Indian Air Force with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, a state-owned company in India.

The development occurs when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in the United States on an official historic state visit. According to GE Aerospace, the agreement also covers the collaborative manufacture of F414 engines in India, which will be used to power and operate Tejas fighter planes.

Greater military-to-military and technological relations with India are seen by Washington as a crucial counterweight to China’s dominance in the area. Washington is striving to strengthen ties with the largest democracy in the world.

In an earlier statement, Hindustan Aeronautics stated it was in discussions to produce the engines domestically and intended to use them in a second generation of light combat aircraft. The Biden administration was reportedly ready to approve a contract that would allow GE to supply jet engines for Indian military aircraft, according to a May story from Reuters.

To assist Hindustan Aeronautics and the Aeronautical Construction Agency in the construction of India’s light combat aircraft powered by F404 engines, GE worked with both agencies. The supplier of aircraft engines stated it remained committed to working with the US authorities to get the required export authorization for the contract.

It said that the project was a part of the Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 program of the Indian Air Force. It is a crucial component in bolstering defense cooperation between the two nations.

This deal was already on the cards and expected. The first state visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States was anticipated to be focused on a major defense agreement for the production of fighter aircraft engines in India.

The White House was also expected to approve the agreement, which ultimately will allow American manufacturing company General Electric (GE) Aerospace to share crucial technology with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the joint production of GE-F414 jet engines that will power domestic Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-IIs, according to sources. The White House had already given a thumbs up and shared that the details of the deal were almost finalized.

The planned deal has generated a lot of attention in India and elsewhere, and analysts have called it a crucial step for bilateral defense and high-tech cooperation in the face of China’s expanding influence and undisputed technical leadership.

The announcement was made shortly after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting in Washington with Chairman of General Electric H Lawrence Culp Jr. The Prime Minister’s office posted pictures of him with the head of GE shortly after the meeting on Twitter tweeting “PM @narendramodi and CEO of @generalelectric, H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., had insightful discussions.

They talked about GE’s increased technological cooperation to support manufacturing in India. In a statement, GE Aerospace said that it is a major landmark” during Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US and a “key element in strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries”.

H Lawrence Culp Jr., the CEO of GE, called the agreement “historic”. “Our long-standing partnership with India and HAL has made this historic agreement possible,” he stated.

“We are honored to contribute to President Biden and Prime Minister Modi’s goal of improving cooperation between the two countries. As we assist our clients in producing the finest quality engines to satisfy the demands of their military fleet, we will provide both nations with significant economic and national security advantages, he added.

The Tejas Mk2 is the latest generation of India’s indigenous Tejas fighter, and the GE F414 engine will power it. Since GE’s F404 engines power the current Tejas model, the Air Force and GE have a history of cooperation.

The key question, though, is how much technology would be transferred under this defensive pact by the US. the heart of the debate is the single crystal aerofoil technology that allows fighter jet engines to run at extremely high temperatures while maintaining fuel efficiency. Nevertheless, this is undoubtedly one of India’s most important defense accords.

According to GE Aerospace’s announcement, the partnership would help the company fulfill its prior promise to the Indian Air Force to construct 99 engines as part of the Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 program. The new arrangement, it claimed, “puts the company in a strong position to create a family of products in India”.

According to GE Aerospace, the F414 engines have completed more than five million flying hours. Eight countries are either using these engines in their aircraft or have placed orders for these engines. More than 1,600 F414 engines have been supplied worldwide to date, according to the statement.

The company has been operating in India for over 40 years with a broad spectrum of involvement that includes local sourcing, manufacturing, avionics, services and engines.