French aerospace company Safran, that manufactures engines for Rafale fighter jets, has expressed its willingness to help India develop its first indigenous fighter aircraft engine.
A proposal was sent to the Defence and Development Research Organisation (DRDO) about this, Safran CEO Olivier Andries said on Wednesday while briefing Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the company’s military and civil projects in India.
“They are studying the proposal sent by us. We are willing to transfer the technology and this could be the way forward for the first indigenous fighter aircraft engine,” Andries told India Today TV.
The Mirage fighter jets use M53 variant of the engine.
“It will be a big boost for ‘Make in India’ if the proposal works out. It means India would be able to sell the engine to any country that uses Rafale,” said an Indian official.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited the Safran facility in Villaroche near Paris a day after receiving the first Rafale jet for the Indian Air Force. There he was given a presentation and did a tour of the facility on Indian interests.
Sources said studies have also been done for the possibility of manufacturing an indigenous engine for Indian made Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
India and France expect further enhancement of their ties, especially in the arena of defence cooperation.
“We will support the ‘Make in India’ policy. Let us look at the future. You didn’t just opt for a fighter but opted for enhancement of military partnership. We will do our best to meet your requirement,” French Defence Minister Florence Parly said after the induction of Rafale.
The two defence ministers met for the second defence dialogue on Tuesday evening and reviewed the status of bilateral cooperation in the field, which is a key pillar of the India-France Strategic Partnership.
“They also exchanged views on contemporary regional and international developments of mutual interest. Both sides discussed ways to further deepen defence-related official as well as operational level interactions. Both sides agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the existing regular bilateral joint exercises,” a defence ministry spokesman said.
Recognising that India-France partnership in the Indian Ocean Region is crucial for preserving and promoting the common strategic and security interests, the two Ministers noted the continuing implementation of actions outlined in the “Joint Strategic Vision of India-France Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region” (March 2018). The Ministers also reaffirmed the strong intention of the two sides to further deepen bilateral cooperation on counter-terrorism.