Bengaluru: India today signed a $716-million contract for powering the locally-made Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas‘ with American GE Aviation‘s engines. In Indian Rupee terms, the deal is worth Rs 5,375 crore.
With this order from the state-rune Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 99 of the GE F404 engines, the LCA programme has achieved a key milestone in its evolution as a fourth-generation single-engine combat jet for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The contract involves support services from GE Aviation.
“This is largest ever deal and the purchase order placed by HAL for LCA,” said HAL Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan, in a company statement.
The company is working closely with GE Aviation for its support to pursue the export potential of LCA and also to supply spares to the global supply chain of GE F404 engines, he added.
GE Aviation vice president for business development and sales Chris Cyr, who joined the contract signing at the HAL corporate office here through a video conferencing platform, said his company has a 16-year-long partnership with HAL and is happy to extend the relationship with this new order.
“The F404 family of engines has proven itself in operations all over the world and we have committed to deliver all 99 engines and support services by 2029,” he added.
HAL said the indigenously built ‘Tejas’ aircraft is one of the best in its class globally, powered by F404-GE-IN20 engines and has been in service since 2004.
“Ordering of the engines marks a major milestone in the execution of 83 LCA contract with IAF. The co-operation will be further be enhanced with the manufacturing of GE F414 engines in India for the upcoming LCA MkII programme,” it said.
The highest thrust variant of the F404 family, the F404-GE-IN20 incorporates GE’s latest hot section materials and technologies as well as FADEC for reliable power and outstanding operational characteristics.
The F404 family engines have logged in more than 14 million engine flight hours, and has powered 15 different production and prototype aircraft.