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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-run company in India, and American firm General Electric (GE) are in advanced discussions regarding the joint manufacturing of F-414 jet engines for fighter aircraft. The collaboration aims to explore opportunities for technological cooperation beyond the engines. Initially, the Engine Division of HAL in Bangalore will produce the F-414 engines with 60 per cent indigenous content, which will gradually increase over 10-15 years.

The F-414 engine, proposed by General Electric (GE), can generate 98kN of thrust and is currently the leading candidate for a contract to develop and locally produce the engine. The engine can be further developed into a high-thrust variant, generating 120-130kN of thrust, which would be suitable for India’s 5th generation fighter jets such as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the 5th generation variant of the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF).

Snecma, a French engine maker, and Rolls Royce, a British engine maker, have offered to collaborate on engine development. However, both companies have been unwilling to share crucial core technologies, including advanced coating materials that regulate engine temperature. Additionally, they have requested substantial investments for engine development.

Supporters of the F-414 variant argue that once an ecosystem for the F-414 engine (98kN) is established in the country within the next decade, it would be easier to incorporate the technology of the higher-thrust F-414 variant (120kN). They believe that by that time, the supply chain would be better positioned to handle the production of the higher-thrust engine, as opposed to developing an entirely new engine.

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