New Delhi: India and the US have finalised a Rs 3000-crore deal for supplying 99 jet engines to be used in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' being developed by the DRDO. Around two years ago, India had selected the American company General Electric over its rival European Eurojet 2000 for the LCA Mark II programme expected to be ready around 2014-15.
"The deal worth Rs 3,000 crore has been finalised with the US for procuring 99 engines for the LCA Tejas MkII," DRDO officials said. As per the contract, the order could be for 99 engines initially but India will have the option of ordering another 100 engines in the future.
The engine on offer for the LCA Mark II is GE F-414 engine, which are more powerful that the GE F-404 engines fitted in the first batch of LCAs that the Indian Air Force would receive in near future.
The need for changing the existing engines in the LCAs was felt after the IAF found out that the GE-404 engines were not providing enough power to the aircraft and more powerful engines were needed for the purpose.
The DRDO is developing the LCA Mk II to meet the Air Force requirements and it will have latest technological equipment including the Active Electronic Scanned Array (AESA) radar and would be able to carry more payload than the LCA Mk I. Recently, the trials of the LCA Mk I were carried out in Pokharan desert firing range where laser-guided bombs and other weapon systems were tried.
As per the current plans, the IAF will induct two squadrons of the LCA Mk I which would be followed by delivery of LCA Mk II aircraft.