India is all set to ink another major defence deal with the United States (US), to acquire fighter jet engines worth $700 million.
Negotiations are almost over for the engines that will be used to power the homegrown Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will buy a total of 83 jet engines of the LCA Mk1A version from General Electric (GE). All issues pertaining to supply have been straightened out and India will soon place an order for 100 of the GE 404 engines, sources told the Economic Times.
The American engines already power the Mk1 variant of the LCA that is already in service with the IAF and would smoothly fit into the latest version of the indigenous fighter.
The contract with GE is likely to be signed this year. If the deal comes through, this will be the biggest defence deal with the US since February 2020 when India placed orders to procure Apache attack choppers and MH-60 Sikorsky Romeo multi-role helicopters during a visit by then President Donald Trump.
Although the deal doesn't comprise transfer of technology, efforts are underway to build a domestic fighter jet engine for the future Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme.
Spearheaded by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the project envisions a partnership either with England or France to together develop critical engine technology in order to power all future air force fighters.
India in February this year inked a Rs 48,000 crore deal to acquire indigenous LCA Tejas Mk1A fighter jets with state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The mega order was the biggest ever single defence contract signed with an Indian manufacturer and would include various private sector companies as well.
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