India To Acquire Fighter Jet Engine Technology & Joint Venture With Foreign OEM Soon: IAF Chief


Interacting with BW Businessworld, on the recent CAG report on the failure of Rafale Offsets and subsequent delays of the transfer of technology (TOT) for aero engine, Chief of the Indian Air Force RKS Bhadauria hinted a possible deal soon.

There's tons of ambiguity during this regard. What are the difficulty on the TOTs as French partner Safran has not been ready to transfer engine technology under the offset agreement so far? Where we are now at the instant as far as engine technology is concerned? 

Chief RKS Bhadauria said: “In military aerospace zone, i feel the engine is that the biggest problem today which is area that we must address. DRDO has been at it as we had numerous discussion. This engine issue may be a complex issue. Technology involved is complex. DRDO and every one concerned be it– Safran, Rolls Royce and others– they need been in discussion.” Further on the CAG report and upon the question raised by the author, Chief remarked: “As you asked specifically about Safran, the technology transfer didn't materialize between DRDO & Safran which is why it's not a part of Offset so far. Should it get firmed up between the 2 it'll become a part of the offset. So our understanding thereon should be clear. it's from both side. If they arrange the commitment to require the transfer of technology, and type out the negotiations with DRDO thereafter it'll become a part of the offset. Offsets contracts cater for such an opportunity .” 

When asked whether we are building upon Kaveri engine or DRDO is developing all at once new engine capability, Chief said: “In terms of what's happening on the engine, what i'm conscious of is that there's a concerted effort to make a JV. Kaveri (Engine) came an extended way but now it's impossible to assimilate it in AMCA quite project. So JV is what we are watchingwe'll see soon that the contours of JV get fructified.” 

“It isn't that Kaveri has failed. a part of Kaveri has been quite successful. In terms of design and manufacturing we'll in fact leverage the Kaveri skills down the road and even assimilate in future JV for aero engine,” Chief further explained the past effort of DRDO. 

“So, there'll be technology which will be a part of our plan and there needed technology to be built up. Since we've a decent timeline and the way much should be capacity and on all that DRDO has got to be finalized Chief elaborated on the sheer efforts and expertise gained such elusive technology that only very countries are ready to develop and master,” Chief said. 

Are we not leveraging on international partnership for jointly develop aero engine for fighter jets as lot many countries – French Safran and UK’s Rolly Royce among others are offering though none has been fructified so far? So any concrete result will happen this year? Replying on such possibilities Chief said: yes- sooner or later. “But I even have been hoping for an extended time,” Chief said eventually , knowing the complexity and therefore the unwillingness of foreign OEMs to transfer such coveted technology to India. 

On the multi-role fighter (MRFA)and Rafale, Chief made it clear that the IAF has placed the trust within the LCA. within the next five years we'll commence induction of 83 LCA Mk1A. We are supportive of DRDO and HAL’s effort at their indigenous production and you'll soon see the contract of HTT 40 and LCH during this area CAS Bhadauria said. 

“At the instant , we are concentrating on 83 LCA Mk 1A. then , the follow-up planned is MRFA (multi-role fighter aircraft), which is ‘Make in India’ and therefore the other line is on LCA versions, and Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA),” said the IAF chief. 

On India- china standoff at LAC within the Indian territory of ladakh, Chief said: “China can’t get the higher of India in any conflict and therefore the air force, with its capability and intent serving as a deterrent for the adversary, is prepared to handle any contingency, whilst he acknowledged the strengths of the Chinese air force and gave a broad overview of how the IAF would counter it.” 

The IAF chief said there was no doubt of underestimating the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) because it had made huge investments in “technology, systems and numbers”. He also spoke about the IAF’s assessment of the Chinese J-20 fifth-generation fighter , calling it “work in progress”. 

Asked if the IAF had compared to launching airstrikes against Chinese targets after the June 15 Galwan Valley skirmish during which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, Bhadauria said, “No. But we were prepared for it.” 

On China using air bases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, including Skardu, and therefore the possibility of a two-front war, the IAF chief said, “Whether China will use Skardu is an open-ended question. But if China needs Pakistan’s help to confront us, I even have nothing to mention . If Skardu gets employed by China and that we are in conflict with China, then it’s a collusive threat. and that we will affect it accordingly,” IAF chief said. He said:”We have full capability for a two-front war.” 

Chief also talked about the new dimensions of aerial warfare and therefore the role of UAVs within the conflict. Chief said: “Firstly, drones are important part for ISR and gathering of reconnaissance. it's vital . Their role within the initial conflict us vital . Once the conflict starts they are doing become vulnerable to enemy action. But you can’t win a war by sending Drones or maybe arms Drones. In terms of cost of Drones, it's a problem and it depends on capability. That increase in capability has its own cost. we all know some system are costlier and a few aren'tSo once we go head these will think about final assessment. As attack weapon they need been very successful but they're going to be always limitation.There is combination of such asset that you simply got to have. We are conscious of what quite mix we should always have.” 

Chief said: Direct energy is in our list . Now we are talking about 5th generation. DRDO is functioning on this. By the time, we'll have 5th generation fighter jets, we should always aim for 6th generation technology as far as Direct Energy cares this may be the simplest outcome in our indigenous effort. 

Asked on US deployment of B-2 bomber in Indian Ocean region and if it worked as deterrent to China in restraining, IAF Chief said: “American military deployment is from their own perspectives. once we prepare we don’t plan it from our perspective. Their deployment is consistent with their strategic thinking. The American deployment happened without our coordination. Nobody will fight our war- we'll need to fight ourselves.” 

Chief said India will have 450 air combat platforms.On how it builds up to Chief said: “It isn't exact math but if you begin counting from the present plan of action, we are acquiring 83 LCA Tejas Mk1a; 106 HTT 40, 100 LCA next generation; AMCA 7 squadrons and helicopters among others. He said the time line for LCA Tejas Mk 1a is about 4 years. AMCA is being progressed.

“Within a decade, we'll be ready to get them. By 2027 we expect AMCA by DRDO. Another 114 MMRCA addition will happen for a few of them approvals haven't happened so this is often the plan of action, but if start counting number will even transcend 450. that's an enormous numbers. I don’t think anybody has committed such numbers anywhere within the world,” CAS explained. 

“This is that the time for personal sector and public sector to return together and supported by DRDO” Chief remarked on the building robust aerospace ecosystem in India because the results of such possibilities. 

On the assimilation of indigenous technology Chief said a number one Indian IT firm has developed for IAF an electronic Maintenance Management System (e-MMS), which has all our flying platforms thereon . Virtually this is often the world’s largest such maintenance monitoring system and this has been an enormous achievement with the private sector. “Virtually this is often the world’s largest such maintenance monitoring system and this has been an enormous achievement with the private sector,” he said. 

Despite many such platforms and indigenous effort whether IAF are going to be catch up to formidable number of 42 squadron? “Even we move at the fastest pace we cannot touch 40 squadron during a decade. If we get to 36 to 37 by the top of this decade, it'll be good achievement” Chief said. But that's good number with our indigenous effort and technology.

SOURCE:BW Businessworld

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