K. Satyamurty

Bangalore: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has ordered an additional 24 F 404 General Electric-IN20 `afterburning engines' to power the first operational squadron of the Tejas fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

The order, exceeding $100 million in value terms, follows an initial purchase in 2004 of 117 engines to power a limited series of operational production aircraft and naval prototypes.

Earlier this year, the F 404 GE-IN20 was installed in the Light Combat Aircraft as part of final evaluations. The engine has generated more than 19,000 pounds of uninstalled thrust and completed 330 hours of accelerated mission testing, equivalent to 1,000 hours of flight operations.