SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.
India’s quest for a joint venture for developing a 110kN engine for its 5th generation AMCA program is not heading anywhere, Trilateral discussions with American General Electric, French Safran and British Rolls-Royce have not resulted in any agreement as the GTRE team plans to have more round of discussions soon in coming weeks.
idrw.org has been told that talks are going in circles due to differences in the workshare clauses and the price of the entire program. Engine development from scratch needs to be divided into multiple phases and work share in each phase of the program needs to be divided as per technical abilities.
idrw.org has been told that multiple phases will require multiple funds to be sanctioned as per requirements and it is a prerequisite to agree on how much funds will be required in each phase of the program. Entire program costs can vary from $5 to $10 billion since India also need to invest in creating some of the infrastructure and local manpower to not only produce these engines but also to maintain and provide spare and other overhaul support, it is difficult to agree to ballpark figure in early stages as the engine will enter production sometime in 2035 and beyond.
People familiar with the talks who spoke to idrw.org claim that the budget that India is comfortable spending will get us an engine that is manufactured and tested in the OEM country but certification and production of this engine with precision tools and machinery will require another set of expertise that is simply not available in the country.
Defence expert Ranesh Rajan speaking to idrw.org said that India will need to create an entire ecosystem around this new engine that is completely devoid of any foreign dependence when it enters production and this will require not only massive investment but also a lot of collaboration between the public and private sector companies.
India’s AMCA program will enter a crucial phase this year as ADA will put AMCA program files in front of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Government of India to get 15000 crores funds approved for the program alone, Engine development funds will be nearly three times more than of the entire AMCA program cost that is unlikely to deal with foreign OEM will be closed anytime soon.
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