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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

General Electric Company which previously supplied engines for India’s Tejas Mk1 fighter jet has recently offered to supply F414 Enhanced Engines to power India’s upcoming Medium Weight Fighter (MWF), and 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet program. According to reliable industry sources close to idrw.org, ADA officials were officially briefed by GE Officials on F414 Enhanced Engines and how it can be incorporated into e F414-INS6 engines selected by ADA for Previous MKII version of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.

According to GE Aviation, F414 Enhanced Engine incorporates additional technical advancements that can be retrofitted into the existing engines like F414 engines at much lower ownership cost. GE till now has supplied ADA with Eight F414-INS6 engines which generate 98kN Class of Wet Thrust but F414 Enhanced Engine can generate 116 kN Class of Wet Thrust with 1% improved fuel burn over F414-INS6 engines with negligible weight gain.

F414-INS6 engines and F414 Enhanced Engine dimensions will remain the same and no airframe changes will be required was the assurance given by the GE officials to ADA. GE promised that transaction will be smooth just like in LCA-Tejas Mk1 Program when ADA moved from an Initial lot of 8 F404-F2J3 engines which were used in LCA TD and Prototypes to F404-GE-IN20 engines with 5kn of extra wet thrust now used in Production variants. GE in 2010 had won a contract to supply 99 F414-INS6 engines with an option of 40 more as follow on order to power Mk-2 LCA-Tejas which now has become MWF with increased Maximum take-off weight of 17.5 tonnes over which GE officials feel that additional 18kn Wet Thrust will come in handy on MWF after incremental growth in its payload and weapons capabilities after redesign.

US and India previously had agreed to co-develop a new engine to power India’s AMCA based on GE’s F414 Enhanced Engine but talks fell through due to lack of any advancement in negotiations after both sides were not able to reach an agreement on Transfer of Technology of the Core section of the engine. GE by offering F414 Enhanced Engines wants to kill two birds with one stone and secure orders for nearly 1400+ engines for both MWF and AMCA Program for the fleets entire operational requirement for next 3 to 4 decades to come, but Transfer of Technology will be key to secure such multi-billion dollars contract from India said Defence expert Ranesh Rajan to idrw.org.

GE Aviation is already facing challenges from French Safran and UK’s Rolls Royce for the supply of new engines to power India’s AMCA fighter jets but GE is pushing for common engines for both MWF and AMCA program which will help lower ownership cost of this engine and will also improve the scale of supply chain due to common engine in both fighter jet program. GE Aviation will still require approvals from US Administration for the supply of engines which are yet to power American jets but GE has offered to set up a local assembly line and also create a local supply chain with help from public-private sector companies in India which will ensure smooth supply of spares and logistics. GE also has promised to use its Bangalore Facility in India to incorporate further improvements in the engine as per feedback provided by the operators.

According to Defence expert Ranesh Rajan, If F414 Enhanced Engines is selected it will take care of future thrust requirements which are bound to happen in weight increase in MWF due to future upgrades and India will also be able to experiment with 3D thrust vector nozzles for possible MK3 configuration to further improve aircraft maneuverability. The revival of Local Kaveri turbofan engine with help from French Safran Aero Engine maker as part of Rafale offset clause as not resulted into desired output and we are back to square one and now it is more or less confirmed that Kaveri engine derivative will not be powering MWF or Tejas MK1A in near future nor any new variant will be developed based on Kaveri engine unless Government decides to push in fresh round of funds in the program and also decides to appoint a technical partner to the program.

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