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    Rafale offsets: New fighter jet engine complex coming up, French assistance likely

    Synopsis

    The new engine complex is being set up as a national mission to develop a 110 kilo newton powered engine for the future class of advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) and could produce the engine within seven years of starting work.

    AFP
    NEW DELHI: Even as the central auditor has raised questions on non-completion of high end technology transfer as part of the Rafale fighter jet offsets deal, ET has learnt that a new fighter jet engine complex spearheaded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the works, with advanced discussions on for a completely new engine for future Indian fighters with a French manufacturer.

    The new engine complex is being set up as a national mission to develop a 110 kilo newton powered engine for the future class of advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) and could produce the engine within seven years of starting work.

    French engine manufacturer Safran has offered a compete technology transfer to develop the engine and use the offset credits from the Rafale deal and is also tying up with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for transferring manufacturing technology for high end engines.

    “We are signing an agreement related to the technology needed for high thrust engine manufacturing. The technology will be common to the Rafale engines that can be supported by us and would also be useful for the 110 kn engine project,” HAL Chairman R Madhavan told ET.

    While the new engine complex is yet to be set up, the broad understanding is that it would cater to high end fighter jet engines while HAL would be involved in lower thrust engines for helicopters, light transport aircraft, UAVs and trainers.

    HAL is also likely to be part of the 110 kn engine project as a manufacturing partner. As reported by ET, the air force is keen that the future AMCA fighter jet be powered by an indigenous engine to ensure self reliance. While the first squadron of the AMCA fighters would need a foreign engine due to timelines, future squadrons would be powered by an Indian engine, which could possibly be christened the Kaveri.

    As reported, in a report referring to the Rafale fighter jet deal, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out on Wednesday that plans for transfer of high end technology as part of the offsets deal have not been completed and it not clear if it will even take place in the future.

    ET has been reporting that plans to use the Rafale offsets for obtaining jet engine technology has been hanging since 2016, even though French company Safran has been in talks with Indian stakeholders. French companies can modify offset plans at any point but have a huge obligation - to the tune of 3.5 billion Euro – that need to be competed in the next three years, though this timeline can be extended by the government.
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    18 Comments on this Story

    Valerian Pereira7 hours ago
    open up Defense prodution industries in all 29 states with iits, AI..IT majors.
    Top cos like Tatas...DRDO.HAL...MAHINDRAS..KIRLOSKARS...L&T, Reliance..
    Bharath Forge.. etc
    all top Engineering IT AI Military engineers.. all together evolve the BEST PRODUCTS.
    ST26 days ago
    Girish Deodhare, who heads ADA, the Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) agency that oversees the Tejas and AMCA programmes said that the first flight of the AMCA is targeted for 2024-25.
    A key challenge in the AMCA programme is to develop a new engine, powerful enough to permit super-cruising
    AMCA designers are working with twin General Electric F414-GE-INS6 engines, which is also being used, in a single- engine configuration, to power the Tejas Mark 2. 
    However, this engine which generates a maximum thrust of 90 kN in Indian climatic conditions, is not powerful enough for super-cruising in all configurations. The AMCA ideally needs engine with a minimum thrust of 110 kN.
    In 2015, India had set up a “joint working group” (JWG) with plans to co-develop a jet engine by harnessing American expertise. But on October 24, 2019 US Under Secretary of Defence Ellen Lord revealed that US export control laws safeguarded the technology that the DRDO wanted.
    The General Electric engines are bought off the shelf and there is no option of even local license assembly.
    As a part of its offset obligations relating to the purchase of 36 Rafale fighters, French military aircraft engine manufacturer Safran was expected to help develop an engine with the necessary thrust, but the company asked India to invest close to ₹ 6000 crores.
    A joint venture with UK's Rolls Royce remains the only remaining option.
    Jayeshkumar Panchal26 days ago
    India should Start doing things that do not Exist elsewhere!, like 5G oops, or things like Energy Saving BS-6 (Euro-6) Transmission for Automobiles and not forgetting Rotor-less Aircraft Engines for Future Aircraft of all types.
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