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General Electric (GE) is poised to revolutionize India’s aerospace industry with its cutting-edge engine technology. Currently negotiating a deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the F-414 engine, GE is pushing the boundaries of collaboration by proposing a significant transfer of technology (ToT) agreement, aiming for an impressive 80 per cent ToT. 

The proposed collaboration between GE and HAL extends beyond the acquisition of existing engine technology. GE is also exploring the possibility of partnering with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to co-develop a new engine based on the F-414 platform. This engine holds the promise of powering India’s ambitious 5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) fighter jets, marking a significant leap forward in indigenous defence production.

At the heart of this endeavour lies the F-414 engine, renowned for its reliability and performance. With a thrust rating of 98kN, the F-414 is set to propel the AMCA MkI fighter jets in Phase I of the program. However, GE is not content with maintaining the status quo. Leveraging its expertise in engine design and innovation, GE is advocating for the evolution of the F-414 into a more powerful variant, capable of delivering up to 120kN of thrust.

Key to this evolution is the introduction of the Enhanced Durability Engine (EDE), a transformative upgrade that promises significant improvements in performance and efficiency. By incorporating a two-stage fan with a forward-swept, all-black design, GE aims to achieve a 10% increase in pressure ratio, resulting in a 4% reduction in specific fuel consumption (SFC) and a remarkable 20% boost in thrust compared to the current F-414.

The enhancements offered by the F-414 EDE are truly game-changing. Not only does it promise superior fuel efficiency and increased thrust, but it also boasts a threefold increase in component durability, ensuring greater reliability and longevity. With thrust levels expected to reach nearly 29,000 lbs, the F-414 EDE represents a significant leap forward in engine technology, offering unmatched performance for next-generation fighter aircraft.

Furthermore, GE’s commitment to rigorous testing and validation underscores the reliability and safety of its engine solutions. Rig testing of the new fan design is slated to commence next year, marking a crucial milestone in the development process and paving the way for eventual integration into the AMCA fighter jets if accepted by DRDO and IAF.

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