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Air Chief Marshal VR Choudhary, in a recent interview, expressed optimism about the upcoming local production of the F414-GE-INS6 engine, a powerful turbofan capable of propelling next-generation fighter jets.

“We are confident that the development of a local engine in a class of F414-GE-INS6 will happen,” declared Choudhary, his words echoing the IAF’s commitment to reducing dependence on imports for critical aeronautical technologies. This marks a significant shift in India’s defence strategy, paving the way for a future where the country builds its engines to power its military aircraft.

The F414-GE-INS6 engine represents a crucial stepping stone in this ambitious journey. GE Aerospace, the engine’s original manufacturer, will be transferring a whopping 80% of the technology transfer (ToT) to India, enabling local production and expertise development. This not only ensures a reliable supply of engines for IAF fighter jets but also lays the groundwork for future indigenous engine programs.

“The ToT of the F414-GE-INS6 engine will help create a local supply chain that will come in handy in the development of future engines in the country,” emphasized Choudhary. This collaboration fosters a vibrant ecosystem of domestic industries, engineers, and researchers, paving the way for a self-sufficient aerospace sector in India.

Choudhary’s statement resonates with the ongoing efforts of DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) to develop its advanced engines. The Kaveri engine, with its new afterburner demonstrating a thrust of 81kN, holds immense promise. Plans are already underway for the Kaveri Mk2, boasting an enhanced thrust of 95-99kN, placing it squarely in the same class as the F414-GE-INS6.

The experience gained through local manufacturing of the F414-GE-INS6 will prove invaluable in propelling the development of the Kaveri Mk2. The knowledge, infrastructure, and skilled workforce acquired through this collaboration will empower India to refine its engine-building capabilities, ultimately achieving self-reliance in this critical domain.

Air Chief Marshal Choudhary’s confident pronouncements mark a turning point in India’s quest for aerospace autonomy. The IAF’s commitment to local engine production, coupled with the ongoing advancements by DRDO’s GTRE, promises a future where Indian skies soar on the wings of indigenous technology. As the engines roar to life, they symbolize not just the IAF’s growing power but also India’s unwavering stride towards becoming a global leader in aeronautical engineering.

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