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India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and General Electric (GE) are set to sign an agreement that will pave the way for the development of infrastructure to support the production and testing of the new F414-INS6 engine for the Tejas Mk2 fighter jet in India. While India is not the first country to locally assemble this engine, South Korean company Hanwha Techwin has also signed an agreement with GE to manufacture F414 engines for the KF-X aircraft.

GKN Aerospace, based in Trollhättan, Sweden, also plays a role in local engine production. They manufacture the RM16 fighter engines for the JAS 39 Gripen, which are based on the GE F414 aero-engine. The RM16 engine has been tailored in collaboration with GE and Gripen manufacturer Saab for the Gripen-E fighter jet, which entered production in 2021. GKN Aerospace completed the successful first engine run for the advanced RM16 engine last year. However, the components manufactured locally remain consistent in both agreements.

Hanwha Aerospace of South Korea plans to manufacture the F414 aero-engine, aiming to produce 100 engines by 2026, with only 30-40% of the components being manufactured locally. On the other hand, GKN Aerospace, under its agreement with GE, also plans to produce the same per cent of components being manufactured locally as seen with Hanwha Aerospace.

The F414-INS6 engine deal for the Tejas MkII was initiated in 2010, initially for an older concept that was later discarded in favour of the 2019 concept of the Tejas Mk2 aircraft currently in use. In 2010, GE agreed to localize the production of nearly 60% of the engine’s components. By the time the Tejas Mk2 was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), India was already considering procuring the same engines for the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF) and the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) MkI platforms. This could have significantly increased the number of engines manufactured locally in India, from earlier 100 units to nearly 300 units. This represented a substantial business opportunity for GE, with an estimated $4.5 billion from direct engine sales and an additional $6 billion from maintenance and export contracts for the three aircraft powered by the engine.

While the final details of the new agreement are yet to be disclosed, sources familiar with the matter suggest that the transfer of technology and the percentage of locally manufactured components will exceed 60%, possibly reaching 75%. Further clarity on these figures is expected once the final agreement is reached.

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