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French aerospace giant Safran Aircraft Engines, a key player in the global aviation industry, welcomed Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to its Gennevilliers facility, where pivotal components of the M88 engine, which powers the Dassault Rafale, are manufactured. During the visit, Safran reiterated its commitment to partnering with India on the development of a cutting-edge fighter engine for India’s 5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program, which is also designed to be 6th generation-ready.

Safran and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (DRDO’s GTRE) have entered into discussions with Indian defense industry partners to co-develop new engines tailored to the requirements of the AMCA program. Notably, this new engine will not be an extension of the M88 engine currently in use. Instead, Safran has proposed the development of an entirely new engine core, which can subsequently be upgraded to meet evolving thrust needs. The 110kN engine, at its core, can be enhanced to provide up to 130kN of thrust, which might be sought for India’s envisioned 6th generation fighter jet, expected to materialize after 2030.

This collaborative effort between Safran and DRDO’s GTRE will involve the sharing of joint intellectual property related to the engines. Furthermore, all components of the engine, including its core, will be manufactured in India, supported by domestic defense industry partners. The ambitious project is anticipated to span seven years, encompassing the complete development and testing phase. Initial testing and production will be conducted in France, with a gradual shift to India by 2033.

The resulting engine is slated to power the AMCA MkII aircraft, which is scheduled for production starting in 2035. This strategic partnership underscores the commitment of both France and India to advance technological capabilities and foster collaboration in the aerospace sector, benefiting both nations as they strive to meet the evolving demands of the defense industry.

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