India And US Focus On Drone Warfare, Suspend Project To Share Jet Engine Technology

India and the United States have identified new technologies in drone warfare systems under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI). The initial project to build fighter jet engines has been suspended as both sides failed to reach an agreement on the specifics of the collaboration deal. The DTTI also includes lightweight arms and network systems. 

The two sides have signed a joint statement of intent (SOI) to strengthen defence technology cooperation. The SOI also outlines the specific short, middle and long term projects which both countries will undertake as a part of DTTI. Through the talks, both sides have identified seven projects which aims to achieve the shared national security interests of the countries. 

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There are three near term projects included in the initiative – air launched small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), lightweight small arms technology and Intelligence, Surveillance and Targeting Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR). The proposed near term projects will be formalised in an agreement in approximately six months.

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Ellen Lord, undersecretary of Defence and Acquisition and Sustainment, who was in the New Delhi for a DTTI review meeting said that both sides are still working on other aspects of aircraft technology. He said, “The original project is suspended right now. But we are talking about other potential engine working group items.  We could not come to an understanding of what exportable technologies would be useful to the Indians and we did run into a challenge in terms of US export controls.”

The DTTI initiative announced in 2012, was focused on co-production and co-development of military systems but did not succeed despite efforts from both countries.

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