GE Aerospace announced on Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The development comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the US, a key element of which is strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries.
The agreement includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India, as GE Aerospace continues to work with the US government to receive the necessary export authorisation for this. The effort is part of the Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 programme.
“This is a historic agreement made possible by our longstanding partnership with India and HAL,” said H. Lawrence Culp Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aerospace.
“We are proud to play a role in advancing President Joe Biden and PM Narendra Modi’s vision of closer coordination between the two nations. GE’s F414 engines are unmatched and will offer important economic and national security benefits for both countries as we help our customers produce the highest quality engines to meet the needs of their military fleet,” Culp added.
GE Aerospace has operated in India for more than four decades with wide engagement in the industry, including engines, avionics, services, engineering, manufacturing, and local sourcing.
In addition to potential new work in India, a number of US facilities that currently support work on the F414 engine will see additional volume as a result of the announcement.
In 1986, GE began working with the Aeronautical Development Agency and HAL to support the development of India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) with F404 engines. Subsequently, GE Aerospace’s F404 and F414 have been part of development and production of LCA Mk1 and LCA Mk2 programmes.
In total, 75 F404 engines have been delivered and another 99 are on order for LCA Mk1A.
Eight F414 engines have also been delivered as part of an ongoing development programme for LCA Mk2.
The agreement will advance GE Aerospace’s earlier commitment to build 99 engines for the IAF as part of the LCA Mk2 programme. In addition, GE will continue to collaborate with Indian government on the AMCA Mk2 engine programme.
With more than five million flight hours and eight nations with F414-powered aircraft in operation or on order, the F414 continues to exceed goals for reliability and time on wing. Till date, more than 1,600 F414 engines have been delivered globally.