GE engines in the fray for MMRCA tender, parts to be sourced from India

Multinational American technology and services conglomerate, General Electric (GE), currently in contention as an engine supplier for some aircraft participating in the medium-range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender of the Indian Air Force has said it is keen on sourcing components from Indian industry.

 UAE Air Force F-16 E/F Block 60
Three of the MMRCA contenders - Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin's F-16IN Super Viper and Saab Gripen's JAS-39 fighter are powered by GE Aviation engines. These are the F414-GE-400 for the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, the F110-GE-132 turbofan for the F-16IN Super Viper and the F414G turbofan, a version of the F414-GE-400, for Saab's Gripen.

GE has said it will manufacture, assemble and test the engine, should any of its partners win the contract, at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) facilities. It has also said that it will get many of its engine components manufactured by local firms.

The F110-GE-132 turbofan engine developed by GE for the F-16IN was originally developed for the United Arab Emirates F-16E/F. The engine offers a thrust of 32,000 pounds, which is considered as little on the higher side for a small aircraft like the F-16, but also allows the F-16 IN to carry more armaments.

Since 1984, more than 3,000 F110 engines have been ordered by the US Air Force and have been mounted on various airframes, including the F-14 Tomcat, the F-15 Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

According to Philip G Woniger, programme manager, F110-GE-132, GE Aviation, the company would make the engine compatible for Indian requirements. Such customisations would include durability core.

He also pointed out that the engine produced 170 reports which guided engine maintenance staff.