In a significant milestone, the US State Department has informed the US Congress of the Biden Administration’s choice to build GE-F 414 jet engines in India via the complete transfer of technology (ToT) route for LCA Mark II aircraft that Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be producing. On July 28, Congress was notified, and as required, the agreement will be deemed ratified after 30 days.
On June 22, 2023, in Washington, D.C., during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day trip to the US, the MoU between GE and HAL was formally ratified. It is anticipated that the US Congress would accept the engine production agreement because it poses no threat to US national security objectives.
The GE F 414 engines are expected to power the LCA MK II, AMCA Mark I, and Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) for Indian aircraft carrier designed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the DRDO, despite the Modi government’s secrecy regarding the entire transaction. At least 100 engines will reportedly be needed to create the LCA Mark II fighter, and by the turn of the decade, 200 engines will be required for the twin-engine AMCA Mark I and TEDBF. If everything goes according to plan, the ADA should have the LCA Mark II prototype ready by the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025.
In a joint statement released at the conclusion of PM Modi’s visit to the US in June, the two leaders expressed their commitment for their governments to cooperate and move quickly to assist the implementation of “this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.” While the GE-404 engines power the LCA Mark I, the US F-18 multirole jet fighter is powered by the far more potent GE-414 engine.