Tejas Mk2 with General Electric Aerospace F414 engines

General Electric Aerospace will manufacture F414 engines in India for Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Tejas Mk2 fighters, boosting the defense sector and technology collaboration in India.

Revolution in Indian Defense: High-profile collaboration with General Electric Aerospace

The Indian defense landscape is being transformed on a scale never seen before, and General Electric Aerospace (GEA), the American aeronautics giant, is contributing significantly.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between GEA and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Bangalore-based company, on June 22.

Tejas Mk2 with General Electric Aerospace F414 engines
LCA Tejas MK2

This unprecedented agreement underscores a technology alliance that will enable GEA to co-produce its advanced F414 jet engines on Indian soil. The F414 engines are intended to power Tejas Mk2 fighters, a light combat aircraft under development by HAL for the Indian Air Force.

The Tejas Mk2: An Indian Prodigy in Waiting

HAL’s Tejas fighter, the pride of India, was first inducted into the Indian Air Force fleet in July 2016. Since then, an addition of 140 Tejas aircraft to the fleet has been planned, enough to reinforce seven squadrons.

The Tejas Mk2, on the other hand, is in the final testing phase. Airforce Technology reported that the maiden flight of the test is in line of sight, although The Hindustan Times has suggested a possible delay in the introduction of the Mk2 variant until 2024.

General Electric Aerospace: Trusted US Provider
Tejas Mk2 with General Electric Aerospace F414 engines

The original equipment manufacturer for the F414 engine, GEA, has been a trusted partner of the US Navy for more than three decades.

Its F414 engines have been the mainstay of the US Navy’s F-18 Super Hornet jets during this time, with GEA supplying more than 1,600 of these high-performance engines.

Ind-X: New defense innovation bridge between India and US

On June 21, one day before the MoU between GEA and HAL, the US Department of Defense and the Indian Ministry of Defense launched the Ind-X initiative.

This initiative is a joint effort that brings together governments, companies and academic institutions from both countries with the aim of linking defense startups under the umbrella of the iCET initiative.

Benefits for the US: A geopolitical strategy\

Tejas Mk2 with General Electric Aerospace F414 engines
HAL Tejas (LA-5018) from Squadron 18 Flying Bullets conducting aerial maneuvers.

The US interest in fostering a stronger alliance with India stems from the need to maintain good relations with key economic players and counter a potential “multipolar world order.”

Collaboration with India, a BRICS country that has historically relied on the Russian defense industry, is crucial to US foreign policy and national security.

India and its relationship with Russia: The need to diversify

Despite not being a NATO member, India has a strong trading relationship with Russia. However, with the Russian defense industry struggling to meet export demands and support its forces in Ukraine, India has faced delivery problems for Russian defense equipment.

Therefore, the US is interested in strengthening the links between the US and Indian defense industries, with the aim of reducing India’s dependence on Russia.