India, U.K. to sign pact on jet engine development

Britain working on govt.-to-govt. framework for defence deals in future given New Delhi’s preference for route

February 06, 2020 11:03 pm | Updated 11:11 pm IST - LUCKNOW

India and the U.K. are exploring various options for collaboration on joint defence projects and are close to signing a government-to-government agreement on jet engine technology development, U.K. Minister for Defence Procurement James Heappey said on Thursday.

“The two governments have decided to collaborate in the development of a jet engine. We are on the verge of signing a government-to-government agreement on jet engine technology development,” Mr. Heappey said speaking at Defexpo 2020. The announcement is imminent, he said, without getting into the details.

Before attending the expo, he was in New Delhi where he met senior government and military officials.

Official sources said the agreement was likely to be done within few weeks. In addition, the U.K. government is working on a government-to-government framework for defence deals in future given India’s preference for that route. The mechanism needs to be agreed upon by both sides is also expected to be ready along with the jet engine agreement.

Third aircraft carrier

Mr. Heappey also made a pitch for joint technology development for sixth generation fighters which can go into India’s fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. He discussed about Indian Navy’s plans for a third aircraft carrier for which the U.K. has already offered the design of its Queen Elizabeth class carrier. On this, he said, there was genuine enthusiasm in the Indian Navy on how it could be adopted by India.

In 2017, the two countries had agreed to extend cooperation on developing advanced defence products such as gas turbine engine and air defence missile systems and a collaborative project was set up between engine maker Rolls Royce and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation on jet engine technology.

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