New Delhi: In a significant step towards increased Indo-U.S. defence cooperation, India is set to sign a deal to acquire 100 fighter jet engines worth $700 million from US-based General Electric (GE). The procured GE 404 engines will be used to power the Mk 1A version of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS. The said engine is already being used to power the MK-1 version of the TEJAS which is in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
While the deal does not include transfer of technology, efforts are on to build an indigenous fighter jet engine for the future Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. The project, being spearheaded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, envisages a partnership either with France or England to jointly develop critical engine technology to power all future air force fighters.
The latest version of the aircraft is equipped with critical operational capabilities of Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Beyond Visual Range Missile, Electronic Warfare Suite and Air-to-Air Refuelling. The first fighter to roll out will have well over 50% indigenous content, which would increase to over 65% till the 83rd jet is manufactured the report added.
Earlier in February, India had formally signed a Rs 48,000 crore contract to acquire indigenous TEJAS MK-1A fighter jets with the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. India and the US are said to have almost completed the negotiations and all issues related to the supply are said to have been sorted out. Once inked, the engagement would mark the biggest India-US defence deal since February 2020 when India had placed orders to procure MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters and Apache attack choppers during a visit by the then-president Donald Trump.