SOURCE: DEEPAK HILORI/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
India has given Clearance to start Country’s fourth active fighter jet project recently which too will be powered by American F-414 afterburning turbofan engine, making it India’s third jet to be powered by an American engine made by General Electric company. India’s Tejas Mk1A jets will be powered by F404-GE-IN20 afterburning engines and Mk2 and TEDBF will be powered by F414-GE-INS6 engines.
IAF and Indian Navy will be looking at 300+ Jets which will be powered by American engines and equipping nearly 40% of your fighter jet fleet from a single-source vendor is also gamble which can backfire on India if the country doesn’t work in developing alternative engines for this fleet. Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria in recent media interview urged DRDO to develop a local engine with a foreign vendor and is it likely Defence ministry too will agree to fast track successor to the Kaveri program soon even though previous talks with French and American engine tech giant have failed to conclude a joint venture proposal.
Developing modern-day afterburning engines is not easy but Japan has shown the way by successfully developing the XF9-1 engine which will be used to power its 5th Generation fighter jet even though the plane is still in the drawing board. IAF has allowed DRDO to use F414-GE-INS6 engines on the first 40 AMCA Mk1 jets produced which again shows India’s dependence on American single-source vendor. India needs to start investing in the development of local engines soon so that technology is matured in the next 10-15 years and is ready to enter production for the AMCA fleet and later be used to replace engines from Tejas Mk1A, Mk2, and TEDBF fleet.