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US to help India make engine for next combat jet

India and the US will jointly develop a jet engine for the proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project and participate in development of Electromagnetic Launch Systems (EMALS) for future aircraft carriers on government-to-government basis under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI)

world Updated: Dec 16, 2015 01:25 IST
Official sources said that while jet engine for AMCA developed by Defence Research and Technology Organisation (DRDO) may take years to develop, the F 414 Enhanced Engine used by F-18 multi-role fighters could be used as a bridge subject to US government approval
Official sources said that while jet engine for AMCA developed by Defence Research and Technology Organisation (DRDO) may take years to develop, the F 414 Enhanced Engine used by F-18 multi-role fighters could be used as a bridge subject to US government approval

India and the US will jointly develop a jet engine for the proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project and participate in development of Electromagnetic Launch Systems (EMALS) for future aircraft carriers on government-to-government basis under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI). Joint working groups on both projects were reviewed by defence minister Manohar Parrikar and his counterpart Ashton Carter during the former’s four-day US visit this month.

Diplomatic sources based in Washington said that Parrikar was not very happy at the speed at which the private companies on both sides were progressing on the Raven hand-held unmanned aerial vehicle and roll on-roll off modules for C-130 transport aircraft. Both items were identified under the DTTI programme last year but little progress has been made as a result of which Parrikar wanted new technologies to be jointly developed on government-to-government basis rather than leave it to the private sector.

While Parrikar became the first Indian defence minister to visit US Pacific Command in Hawaii on December 7, he also landed on US aircraft carrier Dwight Eisenhower off the coast of Norfolk in Atlantic Ocean in a V-22 Osprey aircraft. India is interested in purchasing six attack version V-22 Ospreys for rapid troop insertion in border areas.

Official sources said that while jet engine for AMCA developed by Defence Research and Technology Organisation (DRDO) may take years to develop, the F 414 Enhanced Engine used by F-18 multi-role fighters could be used as a bridge subject to US government approval. Defence major Boeing is willing to make F-18 under the “Make in India” flag, and rival Lockheed Martin is ready to offer F-16 fighters under the same scheme. However, the call between F-18 and F-16 fighters will have to be taken by New Delhi as the former has been successfully deployed on US aircraft carriers while the latter has been in the Pakistan inventory since the 1980s.