GE Aerospace announced today that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, a major milestone amidst Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the United States and a key element in strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries.
The agreement includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India, and GE Aerospace continues to work with the U.S. government to receive the necessary export authorization for this. The effort is part of the Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 program.
“This is a historic agreement made possible by our longstanding partnership with India and HAL,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE and CEO of GE Aerospace. “We are proud to play a role in advancing President Biden and Prime Minister Modi’s vision of closer coordination between the two nations. Our F414 engines are unmatched and will offer important economic and national security benefits for both countries as we help our customers produce the highest quality engines to meet the needs of their military fleet.”
GE Aerospace has operated in India for more than four decades with wide engagement in the industry including engines, avionics, services, engineering, manufacturing, and local sourcing. In addition to potential new work in India, a number of U.S. facilities that currently support work on the F414 engine will see additional volume as a result of today’s announcement.
In 1986, GE began working with the Aeronautical Development Agency and HAL to support the development of India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) with F404 engines. Subsequently GE Aerospace’s F404 and F414 have been part of development and production programs of LCA Mk1 and LCA Mk2 programs. In total, 75 F404 engines have been delivered and another 99 are on order for LCA Mk1A. Eight F414 engines have been delivered as part of an ongoing development program for LCA Mk2.
Today’s agreement will advance GE Aerospace’s earlier commitment to build 99 engines for the Indian Air Force as part of the LCA Mk2 program. It puts the company in a strong position to create a family of products in India, including the F404 engine that currently powers the LCA Mk1 and LCA Mk1A aircraft and GE Aerospace’s selection for the prototype development, testing and certification of the AMCA program with our F414-INS6 engine. In addition, GE will continue to collaborate with Indian government on the AMCA Mk2 engine program.
With more than five million flight hours and eight nations with F414-powered aircraft in operation or on order, the F414 continues to exceed goals for reliability and time on wing. To date, more than 1,600 F414 engines have been delivered globally.
GE’s presence in India includes its research and technology centre, the John F Welch Technology Centre at Bengaluru, which opened in 2000 and its Multi-modal Factory at Pune, which opened in 2015.