India and the United States Strengthen Defense Partnership with GE Aerospace and General Atomics Deals – Indian Defence News


In a significant stride towards bolstering their defense cooperation, India and the United States engaged in discussions surrounding the recent agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) for the indigenous production of GE F-414 jet engines in India. This pivotal development took place during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden, on the eve of the G20 meeting scheduled for the weekend.

While the critical defense pacts and procurement were initially announced during Prime Minister Modi’s State visit to the U.S. in June of this year, this meeting is expected to expedite their implementation, further strengthening the India-U.S. Major Defence Partnership. A joint statement issued by both nations highlighted their commitment to broaden cooperation in emerging domains such as space and artificial intelligence (AI) while emphasizing accelerated defense industrial collaboration.

The statement specifically acknowledged the completion of the Congressional Notification process on August 29 and the commencement of negotiations between GE Aerospace and HAL for a commercial agreement to manufacture GE F-414 jet engines in India. Furthermore, both leaders reiterated their dedication to supporting the advancement of this “unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.”

Back in June, GE Aerospace and HAL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, with a significant transfer of technology amounting to 80%. These F414 engines are poised to power the Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 jets, a feat achieved by only a handful of countries globally.

Another key highlight was President Biden’s enthusiastic welcome of the Letter of Request from the Ministry of Defence of India to procure 31 General Atomics MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft, consisting of 16 Sky Guardians and 15 Sea Guardians, along with their associated equipment. These advanced remotely piloted aircraft will substantially enhance India’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities across all domains. Notably, these highly potent RPAs possess the capability to execute precision strikes on strategic targets, both in mountainous regions and maritime domains, during extended missions. India is aspiring to achieve a significant increase in indigenous content within the MQ-9B UAVs, potentially reaching 15 to 20%, a considerable boost from the 8-9% currently offered by General Atomics.

Recent reports from The Indian Express indicate that India has finalized the Letter of Request, which is expected to be issued to the U.S. in the near future. The leaders of both nations also applauded the signing of a second Master Ship Repair Agreement, executed in August 2023 by the U.S. Navy and Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders, Ltd. This agreement underscores the commitment to advance India as a hub for the maintenance and repair of forward-deployed U.S. Navy assets, aircraft, and vessels. Additionally, both sides welcomed further investments from U.S. industry in India’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul capabilities, building on discussions held between India’s defense minister Rajnath Singh and U.S. secretary of defense Lloyd Austin in June.

The joint statement emphasized the commendable efforts of the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) team, which has been working diligently to establish a robust collaboration agenda. This initiative aims to harness the innovative potential of the U.S. and Indian defense sectors to jointly address shared security challenges. INDUS-X recently organized the inaugural Academia Start-up Partnership at IIT Kanpur, featuring participation from Penn State University. Additionally, they initiated the Joint Accelerator Program for Indian Startups through a workshop led by U.S. accelerator M/s Hacking 4 Allies (H4x) and IIT Hyderabad in August 2023.

Furthermore, both nations welcomed the announcement of joint challenges by the Indian Ministry of Defence’s Innovations for Defence Excellence and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit. These challenges are designed to invite start-ups to develop solutions for shared defense technology challenges, further cementing the collaborative spirit between India and the United States in the realm of defense innovation and security.


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