Earlier this year India and the United States have suspended cooperation on jet engine technology under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) due to lack of progress of the joint working group which failed to make any progress due to stiff US export controls and General Electric which is not keen on transfer of its core proprietary technology to India.

General Electric is pushing for joint venture company, under the local license agreement allow the new JV to built and service derivative of the F-414 engines which were proposed to be used as a base to develop a new engine to power India’s 5th generation AMCA Stealth program, but minus its core technology which was sole reason why no agreement arrived yet, defense analysts close to say that even if the US government agrees to loosen its export control laws it simply can’t force a private engine manufacture to agree to its terms.

US companies have walked away from many such similar deals where the host country asked for core technology transfer recently, many countries have close military cooperation’s with the United States government and have been buying US military hardware like fighter jets from the very beginning yet they faced disappointment.

General Electric is an American aerospace giant that has a majority of share in military-grade aero engine market and will do its best to protect its core proprietary technology over any possible lucrative deal from India. lack of headway from 2015 was the reason why Engine JWGs were dismantled, but Americans have promised to identify a new engine that can be offered to India more likely from another aero engine manufacture.

General Electric rivals like Pratt & Whitney could be the most likely candidate for the development of JV company with India to develop a new engine to meet the power requirements of India’s AMCA program. Americans know what core technology India wants and it will be interesting to see if Pratt & Whitney is ready to go that extra mile.

Before the process for the formation of the new joint working group begins, India has asked the United States to identify a new engine and manufactures in 2020 so that the next rounds of talks can be initiated. India’s set to place orders for 83 LCA-Tejas Mk1A fighter jet which will be powered by GE’s F404-GE-IN20 after-burning engines for which fresh orders are likely.

HAL already has received 41 F404-GE-IN20 engines from GE which will power the first 40 aircraft ordered by IAF in Mk1 configuration, it is likely more then 90-100 new engines will be ordered in the next batch for the Mk1A program. GE already has won orders for supply of 99 larger GE-F414IN engines to be used to power the MWF-Mk2 program under which IAF is keen to order around 108 units. GE-F414IN will also be used to power the first batch of five prototypes of AMCA and also 36 jets in Mk1 configuration. Navy’s Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) program will also see the use of GE-F414IN engines which means the additional order of another 100 engines.

Till now, GE has no local facility in India where engines can be overhauled nor are they license manufactured in India. India ships these engines to GE Aviation factory in the United States when there are due to major overhaul or in cases it suffers from some core damage. Spares and service technician training by GE has been excellent and no major issues with engine have been reported nor any downtime has been faced by the operator.

India also has received counter-offers to develop a new engine from French Safran and British Rolls Royce.

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