According to reports, the Biden administration is about to approve a contract that would allow General Electric Co to manufacture jet engines for Indian military aircraft. The Biden administration will sign and announce the agreement when President Joe Biden meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an official state visit on June 22.
Washington is working to strengthen ties with the biggest democracy in the world and sees stronger military and technological connections with the South Asian nation as a crucial counterweight to China’s dominance in the region. Washington maintains strong restrictions on whether domestic military technology may be shared or sold to other nations.
India, the world’s largest arms importer, depends on Russia for nearly half its military supplies and has bought fighter jets, tanks, nuclear submarines and an aircraft carrier over the decades.
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), a state-owned company in India, has earlier stated that it was in discussions to produce the GE-built 414 engine locally and that it intended to use it on a second-generation of light-combat aircraft. The agreement still needs to be approved by the U.S. Congress, and it is not yet finalized.
An expanded cooperative relationship between the US and India was established earlier this year to encourage businesses from both nations to work together, particularly on military hardware and cutting-edge technology. While GE has granted some technology transfer to HAL, which will manufacture the engines as a licensed manufacturer, India is asking for additional technology-shared.
For the 83 light combat aircraft that HAL is making for the Indian air force, a lighter GE engine is used. However, over the next 2 decades, India plans to build more than 350 fighter jets for its air force and navy, some of which may be powered by the GE 414.