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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

India’s 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Program is all set to take off when the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) of the Central Government of India will grant 15000 crores that the developers of the AMCA program are seeking after completion of the critical design review (CDR) that is planned sometime in early 2022 for the program to kick start fabrication and flight trials of the first aircraft.

idrw.org has learned that the much-delayed decision to select an international partner for the development of a new high thrust engine for the program will also be cleared in 2022 for which additional funds ranging from $4 to $6 billion will be requested and cleared. Defense Expo 2022 might be an ideal place when the new partner might be announced and agreements for the joint venture is likely to be concluded later in 2022.

GTRE/DRDO and HAL officials along with Ministry of Defense and PMO have held talks with French Aerospace engine manufacturer Safran and British Aerospace mammoth Rolls-Royce for a joint venture in the development of an engine with 69kN Dry Thrust and 110kN Wet Thrust for the AMCA Mk2 Variant that will enter production sometime in 2035 onwards.

Safran offer

Safran has offered its M88-4 Core to be used for the development of the new engine that can generate 69–110 kN thrust for which it is ready to Transfer of Technology (ToT) for almost all sections of the Core section (Hot Section) that will be mated with the New Fan which DRDO has developed with high distortion tolerance and surge margin for stealth requirements along with an afterburner section.

Safran has asked for around $6 billion in funding that needs to be set up for the development of this engine for which it has agreed to contribute some of its funds. Safran has offered Dassault-owned Rafale to be made Flying Test Bed for the new engine program once it is ready for flight certification trials. Safran will use Rafale powered by One M88-3 engine and One New engine to complete its flight trials in France before it is cleared for production back in India.
idrw.org has been told Safran also wants minimum engine production guarantee factored in the contract so that program is also viable in long run for the company. Using Rafale as a Flying Test Bed will certify to use new engine not for only India but also for other operators who might be interested in a new high powered engine in near future.

Rolls-Royce offer

Rolls-Royce has offered the development of a new Core section (Hot Section) that will not be based on the Eurojet EJ-200 Core section rather on a new core that the company claims will be co-developed with India so that India can have complete Intellectual property rights over the new engine along with upgrade options. Rolls-Royce has given a co-development cost that is similar to what Safran has offered but since the negotiation is still ongoing we will have to wait till it is officially announced. Rolls-Royce likely will use its Boeing 747-400 flying testbed that is equipped with extensive instrumentation and systems to take sophisticated measurements of engine performance in flight.

69–110 kN thrust Engine

New Engine will have a verified growth potential of 20% so that it can be used for other future fighter programs including a turboprop variant that might be used on locally developed future Civilian and Transport aircraft. The new engine will not be limited only to the AMCA Mk2 program but will be used from 2040 on 170 Tejas MkII aircraft when they are due for new engine. TEDBF jets that will be powered by GE-F414 engine too will be later replaced with new engine gradually.

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