India and US officials Under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) talks have agreed in joint development of the jet engine technology, Indian Ambassador to US S Jaishankar to avoid further confusion also clarified that ” it was much broader than the Kaveri jet engine that India is already working on” .

Clarification coming from Indian Ambassador for joint development was clear that it will not be further or enhanced development of Kaveri engine which last year was officially terminated after engine project failed to achieve its design parameters. Kaveri engine was also officially De-linked from LCA Tejas Project in 2009 and GTRE plans for a Joint venture to develop a new engine based on French designed Snecma M88-2 core with French Snecma company failed to materialise after few years of negotiation.

Why Suspect is F414-EDE or F414-EPE?

Ge’s F414-GE-INS6 has been selected to power India’s LCA Tejas MK-II variant which can generate 97.9 kN thrust with afterburner. AMCA India’s 5th-generation fighter jet programme which has completed its final design stage will require 115 kN thrust producing new engines , It is unlikely that India and US will be work on new engine design from scratch, nor will US invest in engine program which will not be used in their own fleet of jets.

Interestingly US Navy has been seriously considering the development of new F414-EDE (Enhanced Durability Engine) which will generate up to 20% more thrust by increasing fan airflow with the EDE hardware configuration for the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fleet, new engine will be redesigned to have 6 stages, down from 7.

While General Electric is also working on new F414-EPE (Enhanced Performance Engine) which will have  a new core and a redesigned fan and compressor. Enhanced engine will offer  up to a 20 percent thrust boost, increasing it to 26,400 pounds (120 kN).

New F414-EDE or F414-EPE  engines will also be able to meet requirements of AMCA fighter jet and coming from the same F414 family means same engines can be used to upgrade Tejas MK-II or it’s newer variants later in the future . F414 EDE is billed as an upgrade – not a new center-line engine – but it promises significant performance improvement which will improve fuel efficiency, while F414-EPE involves much deeper design changes including new core which will a ideal project which will excite Indian scientist .

What about TOT?

India and US are working on the framework under which jet engine technology can be manufactured in India. Most likely India will look to get similar TOT framework currently been used to manufacture Russian AL-31F engine in India. We have to wait for few more time to get clarity on TOT US can offer and TOT which India can agree upon.

Indian Tweaks?

GE already has carried out In-House Research & development of EDE (Enhanced Durability Engine) Kit and EPE (Enhanced Performance Engine) . so question will be asked what will be Indian contribution to the engine programme be other than providing funds for the development? On India’s wish-list for years has been  “hot-engine technology.” technology which allows fighter jets to operate in hot weather conditions like in deserts without any possibility of an engine failure. Many fighters aircraft engines like Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca Adour Mk 102 turbofans which are used in IAF’s Jaguar Strike fighters suffer Performance drop in Indian climate so does many other fighter jets in Indian Air Force fleet due to adverse Indian climate conditions .

New engine not only will be tweaked for Indian weather conditions, but also able to operate under dusty wind conditions without leading to long time damages to engine cores. Kaveri Engine was supposed to be first turbofan engine acclimatized for operations in Indian weather conditions so most likely India will offer its part of Research carried out on Kaveri engine.

Win-Win situation?

For India, they will get a new engine without much of the investment or time delays expected if we had gone for new further development of Kaveri engine. For US, they get new improved engines for their F-18 fleet which later can be offered to other allies in Asia which are working on their own 5th-generation fighter jets Programs ( Japan, S Korea).

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