With decks cleared for procurement of 73 Tejas Mk1A and 10 Mk1 fighter jets to be powered by an American engine, DRDO is now in talks with an international partner to make a jet engine of 110 Kn thrust class to power its 5.5th Generation AMCA Program that will enable India to take a technological leap on a new high thrust engine that will available for a new fighter that will go into production only in 2035 but also be used to power other jets that are in development.

After General Electric backed out from giving India its intellectual property rights (IP) to its Core technologies nor its transfer of the core technology for its proposed F-414 based engine for the AMCA Program, another American engine manufacture Pratt & Whitney has shown some interest in the program but it is unlikely it will go ahead with the transfer of technology for its core engine technologies due to which talks between British and French partners have intensified.

Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron who was in India a few days back tried to bring the discussion on engine partnership back on track after a deadlock over the price for development of a new engine based on the M88-3 Turbofan engine that is used to power Rafale fighter jet said informed sources close to

Louise Donaghey, Senior Vice President – India and South Asia for Rolls-Royce Defence already has claimed that negotiations between Indian officials and the company have occurred on co-development of the new engine that will see Transfer of Technology (ToT) and Intellectual property rights (IP) with India. Rolls-Royce had previously offered its EJ-200 based uprated engine but the present proposal talks about the development of a new engine using Indian technology already developed like a new larger Fan with high distortion tolerance and surge margin designed by DRDO and other core technology that will be designed from scratch keeping in mind future growth prospects of the engine to be used in 6th generation platform and also on other programs.

TEDBF and MWF-Mk2 initially will be powered by the American GE F414 engines generating 98 Kilonewton (Kn) thrust, but it will be swapped later with a 110 Kilonewton (Kn) thrust engine from 2038-40 onwards when it is due for new engines. Each fighter jet in its 40-year Airframe life span needs nearly 3.5 engine swaps every 10 years or so when it is due for complete overhauls.

A new engine will be developed in 7 years for which a dual-engine fighter jet-like TEDBF or AMCA Mk1 might be used as a Testbed. IAF has agreed to procure 40 AMCA Mk1 with the older F-414 engine that soon will be locally licensed manufactured by HAL with Transfer of Technology from GE for both TEDBF and MWF-Mk2 Programs. The new engine will have growth potential till 130Kn so that it can be used for the successor of the AMCA program too.

India presently is trying to build a local ecosystem that can develop such an engine by having talks with Public-Private defense companies that could be interested in being part of the Tier-I and Tier-II supply chain of the new engine that has been proposed for the AMCA Mk2 Program. 1000+ engine will be manufactured for all three fighter jet programs in 30 years, that will have huge economical prospects for the companies involved in its development. India plans to conclude a deal with an international partner in the next 2-3 years after workshare and ToT details are the workout for the program. But the International partner selected for the co-development of the new engine might be announced soon.

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