UK Pits Itself Against France To Develop Fighter Jet Engines For India?

British companies could be pitted against French counterparts to develop fighter jet engines for India. Indian DRDO has been tirelessly working on its indigenous Kaveri enginers but without much success.

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Earlier, French engine manufacturer Safran has said that it is ready to transfer the full technology for jet engines that can power next-generation fighter jets and has initiated talks on the matter.

However, the plan to develop the indigenous Kaveri fighter jet engine as part of the Rafale offsets deal fell-off after the Indian side found the pricing unreasonable.

Engines are the most crucial systems on fighter jets, and few countries have been able to master the technology. India has been grappling to develop its own combat jet engine despite efforts stretching over two decades. Efforts are also on to develop a graded down ‘Ghatak’ version of the Kaveri engine for use in the unmanned aerial combat vehicle being developed by India.

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Now a senior minister of the UK has stated that London is ready to collaborate on the project and is looking at a government to government model to take it forward, reports the ET.

“The UK and India have much to offer one another in defence, including research, development and training. To this end, both our governments are looking forward to collaborating on jet engine development in the future,” James Heappey, UK Minister for Defence Procurement said at the ongoing DefExpo here

The UK too has substantial experience in developing fighter jet engines. In October 2016, Rolls-Royce also offered a joint production partnership to power Turkey’s planned fighter jets. The British company’s proposal also included a production unit in Turkey to manufacture engines for the TF-X, as well as for helicopters, tanks and missiles.

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“I am delighted that projects of this nature can be achieved via government to government contracting, which will promote collaboration, cooperation and partnerships across the UK and Indian defence industries,” the minister was quoted by the ET.

Earlier, Indian Air Force chief backing PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative had stated that his force would go for the indigenous fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).