- Jul 3, 2022
In either way we are suffering and Americans will have the gainBiden admin still hasn't green lighted the deal.. Americans are looking for a road map- haven't we already publicly declared how many Mk2 & AMCA Mk1s we intend to produce?
Besides the wait for funds sanctioned by the Centre, the US government's indecision on licensed production of jet engines in India threatens to delay the programmewww.indiatoday.in
Why India's indigenous fighter jet programme has hit turbulence
The homegrown Tejas at the Aero India 2023 show in Bengaluru in February. (Photo: Chandradeep Kumar)
India's indigenous fighter jet programme appears to have hit some turbulence. Besides delayed funds, apparent indecision on the part of the Joe Biden administration on sharing technology for manufacturing engines for these jets has added to the jeopardy.
Some of India's fighter jet developers also believe the country's policymakers have probably fallen into the trap of vested international lobbies that do not want India to attain self-reliance in fighter jet technology, including fifth generation stealth jet technology.
Last September, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had cleared Rs 6,500 crore for the project to develop the LCA Mk2, a more lethal and upgraded version of India's homegrown Light Combat Aircraft Tejas. However, the disbursement of funds is believed to have gotten delayed. Similarly, the ongoing project to develop the fifth generation stealth aircraft, named Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), is awaiting nod for the past three years.
Both the LCA Mk2 and AMCA are planned to be powered by the General Electric F414 engine. It's an American afterburning turbofan engine in the 22,000-pound (98 kN) thrust class and is produced by GE Aviation.
Despite multiple rounds of discussions with US authorities, including during National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's visit to Washington in February, regarding licensed production of GE F414 engines in India, the matter is stuck with the Biden government. GE is apparently willing to set up an engine manufacturing plant in India in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) or other private players, but clearance from the US government is awaited.
It is estimated that the Indian Air Force (IAF) would require nothing less than 170 Tejas Mk2 aircraft-equivalent to six squadrons. In addition, the IAF is keen to induct seven squadrons of the AMCA. Given the potentially massive business involved with GE, the Indian government is insisting on transfer of manufacturing technology and production of the engines in the country. "India is only asking for knowhow of the manufacturing, not knowhow of the design. Even then, the US is not agreeing," said a defence source. "The US probably wants a clear-cut roadmap of India's plan for producing the aircraft. The US believes it's only indicators so far and no confirmation on the number of aircraft to be manufactured."
The absence of a roadmap for jet engines has impacted India's fighter jet programme. The AMCA will put India in a select group of countries with super-cruise and stealth aircraft capabilities-the others being the US, Russia and China. However, a nod is awaited from the government for additional funds to manufacture prototypes. To keep the programme running smoothly, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), which is working on the AMCA for the past two decades, has even opened doors for private players to join them in the development of the jet.
In February, in a surprise move, the US had brought its F-35 stealth jet for participation at the Aero India 2023 in Bengaluru. This was the maiden appearance of the F-35 in India. The US has never offered the fighter jet to India. Sceptics believe the F-35 participation was a bid to divert the attention of India's stealth jet developers. On the hullabaloo over the F-35's entry into Indian skies, a defence official said: "Our decision-makers are falling prey to international game and this is delaying India's fighter jet programme. Vested international arms lobbies do not want India to attain this niche technology."
If we cancel amca them f-35 route opens
And if we don't and continue like this with multiple delays and PD coming every year postponing the timelines by 1 year then even then Americans are on benefit as we would have to deploy 5th gen fighters as by 2030s both Chinese and porkies will have considerable amount of 5th gen aircrafts towards us and we would be in the most helpless situation
Our defence ecosystem which includes military, rnd departments, mod isn't growing with the pace of our economy and that our biggest failure to ensure that but in other countries the approach and system entirely opposite even if their economy remains stagnant leave alone growing economies