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In a move signalling deepening defence ties, the United States has extended its expertise in manpower to support India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. The collaboration, rooted in shared concerns over China’s expanding influence in the Indo-Pacific, aims to bolster India’s indigenous capabilities in the defence sector and foster long-term cooperation beyond its traditional defence partnership with Russia.

The collaborative effort spans various technological domains, with joint initiatives announced in jet engine production, semiconductors, and space technology. This strategic partnership not only addresses India’s aspirations to develop a self-sufficient defence industry but also aims to enhance technological competence across diverse sectors.

While specific details of the cooperation offered to India’s AMCA program remain undisclosed, insiders suggest that the 5th generation nature of the fighter may necessitate external consultations. Similar collaborative models have been witnessed in the Korean KF-21 Program, where Lockheed Martin deployed engineers to assist in the development of South Korea’s 5th-generation fighter.

The role of external consultants is envisaged as providing assistance rather than participating in the core technology development of the aircraft. This cooperative approach allows India to leverage the expertise and experience of U.S. professionals while retaining control over the indigenous development of critical technologies for the AMCA.

The U.S. offer of manpower expertise may also be linked to India’s Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) tender, where Boeing’s F-15EX and Lockheed Martin’s F-16V are contenders. While exact details of the cooperation remain confidential, the collaborative efforts could potentially align with the broader defence partnership under the MRFA tender.

The collaboration between the U.S. and India in the AMCA program holds strategic implications for both nations. For India, it presents an opportunity to enhance its technological capabilities in the defence sector, paving the way for the development of a 5th generation indigenous fighter. Meanwhile, the U.S. aims to strengthen its defence ties with India and gradually reduce India’s dependence on Russian defence systems.

The U.S. offer of manpower expertise signifies a significant step forward in the defence collaboration between the two nations. As India advances its AMCA program and pursues technological self-reliance, collaborative efforts with the United States are poised to shape the future landscape of defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

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