F414 Jet Engine Tech Transfers
Context: The American multinational corporation General Electric (GE) has signed an agreement with India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to make fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Source: The Hindu, business standard, Indian Express
- The deal will allow the manufacture under licence in India of GE’s F414 engine for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2.
- 1974: India conducted its first nuclear test, leading to the formation of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), and India found itself outside the elite club.
- 1998: India conducted a series of nuclear tests, which drew global criticism and led to a period of strained relations with the United States.
- 2008: The NSG granted a waiver to the Indo-US nuclear deal, effectively ending India’s isolation from the nuclear mainstream and technology denial regime.
- This waiver allowed for increased collaboration in nuclear technology and trade.
- 2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the US Congress, emphasizing the overcoming of historical hesitations and calling for stronger economic and defense ties between India and the United States.
- 2022: India and the United States signed a major jet engine deal, marking a significant advancement in technology collaboration.
- This agreement included the sharing of critical technologies, signaling the end of the technology-denial regime.
- The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had sanctioned Rs 9,000 crore in 2022 to develop the LCA Mk2, a 4.5-generation fighter aircraft.
- The roll out of LCA-Mk2 is planned by 2024 and the target is to complete flight testing by 2027.
- LCA Mk2 will be pitched as a replacement for the Jaguars, MiG-29s and Mirage 2000s when they start retiring in a decade.
- It is capable of carrying eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles together but can also integrate all native weapons, as well as a variety of advanced weapons from other countries like Scalp, Crystal Maze and Spice-2000.
- Afterburner Turbofan: It is an afterburner turbofan engine, 154 inches long, providing thrust in the 22,000-pound (98 kilonewtons) class. The afterburner technology enhances the engine’s thrust for improved take-off, climb, and combat performance.
- Thrust-to-Weight Ratio: The F414 engine boasts a thrust-to-weight ratio of 9:1, indicating strong aircraft propulsion.
- A higher thrust-to-weight ratio enables better acceleration, excess thrust, and rate of climb.
- Low Maintenance Costs: The engine is designed for low maintenance costs and offers unrestricted engine performance on demand. It has a track record of over five million engine flight hours.
- Reliability and Durability: The F414 engine is known for its reliability and durability, resulting in reduced life-cycle costs.
- It is designed to maximize time on wings, indicating operational reliability.
- Cost: The estimated production cost of F414 engines for F-18 Super Hornets is reported to be $3.71 million.
What are Light Combat Aircraft?