Boeing to offer F-15EX Fighter Jets to India
The US Government has approved Boeing’s request to offer an F-15EX Fighter Jet to the Indian Air Force (IAF). The US government has granted the permission and issued a license to it. This deal came after India planned to procure 114 multi-role aircraft to replace its old fleet. Other than Boeing, Gripen from Sweden and Rafale from France are also looking to lock the deal. Lockheed Martin tries to sell F-21 fighter aircraft to India for $18 billion on the condition that it will be manufactured in India.
Indian Defence Forces have bought ammunition and weapons worth $20 Billion from the US in the last 15 years, thereby enhancing their defense ties. Boeing has been India’s prime partner for both defense and civilian aircraft.
Recently, Boeing received a bulk order of the narrow-bodied 737 MAX planes from SpiceJet. Earlier, Boeing’s 737 MAX planes got approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EUASA) to resume its operations after serving a ban of 22 months. It is still waiting to get a nod from the Indian Government for its operation.
India-Russia deal over S-400 Missiles to be unaffected by US sanctions
Amidst the standoff with China in Ladakh, India plans to deploy modern ammunition and weapons at the borders. For this, India has already signed deals with France, Russia, and the US.
India has procured a $5.4 billion deal with Russia for the S-400 Air Defence system, for which India may face sanctions from the US under the CATSA (Countering Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). However, India has refused to step back from this deal, as the decision to purchase this system was thoroughly evaluated, and it met all the requirements of the Armed Forces. India is planning to protect its major cities by covering them with a ballistic missile defense shield.
India is maintaining a fine line of cooperation with both US and Russia, which are prominent competitors in supplying defense equipment to many countries. In the financial year 2020-2021, India procures US military hardware in large numbers, Apache and Chinook helicopters and P-81 maritime surveillance aircrafts being a few of them. Still, Russia remains the main supplier having about 60% inventory of the three defense forces.
Turkey has been sanctioned by the US after purchasing the S-400 air defense system, as it may leak some important data to the Russian forces.
India will be receiving the first set of batteries from Russia by September. A group of officers has already left for Russia to get trained in the S-400 air defense system’s operation.
IAF adding more Wings and Capability
13th edition of Aero India, starting from February 3, will see Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally signing Rs. 48000 crore contracts for 83 LCA Tejas mark 1A aircraft. This is the single largest contract for an indigenously produced defense platform after the indigenous nuclear submarine project. CCS cleared decks for 73 Combat Mark 1A jets and 10 Mark 1 trainer aircraft. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is also about to get a contract for Rs. 3000 crore 15 light combat helicopters, two of which have been already built. HAL’s light utility helicopter designed and built-in five years will get initial operational clearance. These LUHs will replace 1960s era chetak and cheetah helicopters.
In September, during a ten-day trial period, LUHs flew from Leh up to Daulat Beg Oldie advanced landing grounds and demonstrated their ability to fly at high altitudes. The helicopters also showed their payload capacity at Siachen Glacier and received IOC for the civilian variant.
HAL will start delivering LCA Tejas from February 2024. To meet its target of completing all 83 aircraft delivery, HAL will source Tejas wing sections from its Nashik production line. Sukhoi-30 MkI aircraft are being built in Nashik since 2004 and is nearing completion of fleet production. 123 Tejas aircraft of Mark 1 A and Mark 1 variants will replace six squadrons of MIG-21 Bison, which will be phased out at the end of this decade.
The defense minister will also inaugurate HAL’s third assembly line in Doddanekundi near Bengaluru. Currently, IAF operates two squadrons of LCA’s Mark 1 variant. First was raised in Sulur near Coimbatore in 2016 and had 16 jets. The second squadron was operationalized in May last year.
It is clear that IAF is expanding its power with more indigenous options.
MT30- An Engine for future
Defense sector manufacturing in India will receive a thrust in the upcoming Aero India event in Bengaluru. Rolls Royce will be attracting customers and potential partners with its advanced technology offerings in the naval and air defense sector.
Rolls Royce will be showcasing MT30, the world’s most power-dense marine gas turbine. The design of MT30 has been derived from the Aero Trent engine family. It offers superior power and weight ratio and generates up to 40MW from a 30-tonne packaged unit giving the Navy more power in less machinery space than alternative engine types.
Rolls Royce is active in India’s defense manufacturing for the last 60 years and has partnered with HAL and other supply chain partners. Moreover, it seeks to be a co-developer of indigenous engines for the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft program.
According to Kishore Jayaraman, president of Rolls-Royce India and South Asia, Aero India 2021 will provide a platform for Rolls-Royce to explore its future opportunities to collaborate, co-create, and co-manufacturer in India. The company wishes to expand its footprints and proactively participate in India’s defense manufacturing, continuing the legacy of Rolls-Royce and contribute to India’s Atmanirbhar Bharat program.
Rolls-Royce vice President defense Alex Zinto hailed India’s evolving defense program, and it is the Indian Government’s top priority. He emphasized investment to build a strong ecosystem for defense manufacturing in India and help the country achieve self-reliance in the defense sector. These strategic partnerships will drive in customized technology and create a stronger ecosystem to make in India, India, and the world.
MT30 can deliver its full power at an ambient temperature of up to 38 degrees. With this engine, the ship can operate anywhere without loss of power or performance. MT30 is part of seven different ship types, and its conceivable propulsion arrangements have found a place in 12 navies across the world within a decade. This includes mechanical hybrid and fully integrated- electric with power delivered to waterjets, controllable and fixed pitch propellers, depending on the application. It is essentially an engine for the future.