Game-Changing Defense Deals: India & U.S. Join Forces for Cutting-Edge Tech

On Friday, India and the United States engaged in discussions concerning the recent agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). This agreement involves the local production of GE F-414 jet engines in India and the acquisition of 31 General Atomics MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft. Both nations are eager to expand and diversify their collaboration within the defense sector.

These significant defense agreements and procurement deals were initially announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the United States in June of this year. The meeting between Prime Minister Modi & U.S. President Joe Biden, on the eve of the G20 meeting scheduled for the weekend, is expected to expedite their implementation.

In a joint statement issued by India and the United States, Prime Minister Modi and President Biden expressed their commitment to further deepen and diversify the India-U.S. Major Defense Partnership. They emphasized the need for expanded cooperation in emerging areas such as space and artificial intelligence, as well as an acceleration of defense industrial collaboration.

The leaders welcomed the completion of the Congressional Notification process on August 29 and the commencement of negotiations for a commercial agreement between GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) for production of GE F-414 jet engines in India. They reaffirmed their dedication to collaboratively and swiftly support the advancement of this unprecedented co-production and technology transfer proposal.

In June, GE Aerospace and HAL signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to manufacture fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, with an 80 percent technology transfer. These F414 engines are intended to power the IAF’s Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 jets. Mastering such specialized technologies for manufacturing combat aircraft engines is a feat accomplished by only a few countries, including the U.S., Russia, the UK, and France.

Additionally, President Biden expressed his appreciation for the issuance of a Letter of Request from the Ministry of Defence of India for the procurement of 31 General Atomics MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft (comprising 16 Sky Guardian and 15 Sea Guardian variants) and their associated equipment. These RPAs will significantly enhance India’s armed forces’ intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities across various domains. These highly capable RPAs can conduct precision strikes on strategic targets in mountainous and maritime regions during extended missions. In June, a senior government official had mentioned India’s aspiration to increase indigenous content in the MQ-9B UAVs from the current 8-9 percent offered by GA to 15-20 percent.

The leaders applauded the conclusion of a second Master Ship Repair Agreement, with the most recent agreement being signed by the U.S. Navy & Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders, Ltd., in August 2023. Both sides reiterated their commitment to advancing India’s role as a hub for the maintenance and repair of forward-deployed U.S. Navy assets, as well as other aircraft and vessels. They also welcomed further commitments from U.S.

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