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SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is yet to approach American General Electric for possible supply of additional batch of F404-GE-IN20 engines to power upgraded LCA-Tejas MK1A aircraft and naval prototypes as per company officials information provided to local media.

General Electric in 2011 had bagged orders for supply of 24 F404-GE-IN20 after-burning engines to power the first operational squadron of Tejas fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force which was follow-on order for 17 F404-GE-IN20 engines ordered in 2004 which were used on limited Series Production aircraft.

Recently IAF placed orders for 83 LCA-Tejas MK1A with HAL which will have its first flight by 2019 later followed by full-scale production from 2021. LCA-Tejas MK1A will carry similar engine generating 85-90kN thrust for its operations but it is yet to be made clear if HAL will be using F404-GE-IN20 engines or will use GTRE-SAFRAN developed Kaveri engine which according to DRDO will be ready by 2019 for installation in LCA-Tejas PV-1.

GE Aviation already has supplied Two F414-INS6 engines to power Tejas MK-II and as per contract will deliver Six more engines in next batch to India when MK-II Aircraft Variant is ready for installation. In 2013 India has completed a deal for 99 General Electric F414 engines, the power-plant for the planned Hindustan Aeronautics Tejas Mk II Light Combat Aircraft.

GE Aviation in mid 90’s also had supplied dozen older F404-F2J3 engines with lesser thrust, which were used to power Technology Demonstrator and Prototype Vehicles of LCA-Tejas which were later replaced by improved India specific F404-GE-IN20 engines.

UK defence secretary Michael Fallon last month on his visit to India had said that Britain’s engineering major Rolls Royce and DRDO have been working on developing an engine for military jets hinting at possible development of Eurojet engines but he failed to elaborate on details.

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