In a significant stride toward bolstering India-US defence cooperation, the United States Congress has granted approval for GE Aerospace’s agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a state-owned entity in India, to manufacture fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force. This landmark deal, a result of negotiations during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the United States in June, reflects a shared commitment to advancing defence capabilities through technological collaboration.

The green light from the US Congress signals the Biden administration’s intent to pursue the GE jet engine deal with India. This move paves the way for the implementation of an agreement that includes not only the transfer of technology but also the manufacturing of jet engines in India and licensing arrangements. Notably, the technology transfer encompasses a substantial 80 percent of GE Aerospace’s expertise, aimed at enhancing the operational performance of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) MKII.

At the heart of this deal lies the objective of boosting indigenous capabilities in jet engine production, thereby contributing to the future of India’s military aviation capabilities. HAL Chief CB Ananthakrishnan describes the partnership as a “big game changer,” serving as the foundation for the development of future indigenous engines that will drive military jets.

A key facet of the agreement involves the joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India, aligned with the Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 program. This collaboration carries the potential to co-produce 99 jet engines, marked by cost efficiencies owing to technology transfer. The F414 engines, known for their reliability and performance, are poised to play a pivotal role in enhancing the combat capabilities of India’s air fleet.

The partnership extends beyond technology transfer and joint production. GE Aerospace’s presence on Indian soil, spanning over four decades, is set to expand, encompassing a spectrum of facilities ranging from engine provisions and avionics to services, engineering, manufacturing, and local sourcing. This comprehensive collaboration not only bolsters India’s defence capabilities but also fosters economic growth and technology exchange.

Furthermore, GE Aerospace’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with the Indian government on the AMCA Mk2 engine program underscores the enduring nature of the partnership and its potential to drive innovation in military aviation.

As India and the United States forge ahead with this momentous defence collaboration, the agreement sets a precedent for bilateral partnerships that harness technological expertise, foster knowledge exchange, and contribute to strengthening global security. The approval from the US Congress is not just a nod to a deal; it signifies a new chapter in India-US defence cooperation, where joint ambitions shape the future of military capabilities.