Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Indo-US Partnership for Developing Aircraft Carrier, Hot Engines - AMCA Go Ahead Likely?

AMCA Wind Tunnel Test Model at Aero India 2015

Following an in principle agreement between India and the US to cooperate in jet engine and aircraft carrier design and construction under DTTI, arrived at during US President Obama’s visit to India in January 2015, the two nations have been discussing the scope and modalities of the cooperation.

Two rounds of discussions are known to have been held already, more are planned.

Surprisingly, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal, in her recent address to the annual meeting of Association of the US Army, said, "We're now helping India develop aircraft carrier and jet engine technology as part of our Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, which Secretary Carter launched back in 2012."

Her statement suggests that cooperation has already started. If it has, it's probably based on a level of agreement already reached.

While the Aircraft Carrier development cooperation would focus on EMALS, the agreement on jet engine technology would focus on a hot engine power plant for the AMCA based on the F414 Enhanced Performance Engine (EPE).

If the Assistant Secretary's statement is indeed true, it is possible that the Indian government will soon sanction and fund the AMCA project, clearing the way for preliminary design of the aircraft to commence.

The AMCA configuration has been frozen in consultation with the IAF. The project was awaiting choice of an engine.

The finalization of the AMCA power-plant would explain the IAF Chief's optimism on the AMCA, evident during his recent press conference.