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General Electric (GE) has presented a proposal to India, offering a derivative of their F414 engine with a thrust of 116 kN as a baseline for the development of a new F414 variant. This engine variant is intended to power India’s fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and is designed with the crucial objectives of achieving supercruise capabilities and reducing thermal signature.

According to GE officials, the company has already developed a technological concept for upgrading the present 98 kN thrust F414 engines to achieve a 1% improvement in fuel consumption, thereby enabling the thrust enhancement to 116 kN. However, considering that further thrust enhancements will be required, GE has extended an offer to India to utilize their ceramic matrix composite engine core parts, which require 20% less cooling air.

Ceramic Matrix Composite parts, which are significantly lighter than metal components, are composed of silicon carbide ceramic fibres and ceramic resin. These parts can withstand higher temperatures, allowing the core to operate at elevated levels and theoretically generate thrust exceeding 130 kN with the upgraded F414 core.

The GE-414 engines, which completed their first run in 1993, will undergo enhanced performance engine (EPE) upgrades. These upgrades, including a new core and redesigned fan and compressor, will increase the thrust by 18%, reaching 116 kN. The introduction of Ceramic Matrix Composite parts represents the next level of upgrades for the same core, making it future-ready and enabling a potential thrust increase of 16-18% beyond 116 kN, if necessary.

The baseline F414-GE-INS6 (98 kN) engine has already been selected to power India’s Tejas MkII, Twin-Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF), and AMCA MkI. Since the F414-EPE (116 kN) variant will share the same dimensions, it will be reverse compatible and can also be utilized for Tejas MkII, TEDBF, and AMCA MkI at later stages. Alternatively, India can opt for the upgraded Ceramic Matrix Composite enhanced core, which has the potential to surpass 130 kN of thrust.

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