By Express News Service

BENGALURU: HAL on Tuesday placed a Rs 5,375 crore order with GE Aviation for supply of 99 F404-GE-IN20 engines to power the aircraft as well as for support services. This is one of the largest deal signed related to the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas.

The order is considered a major milestone in the execution of HAL’s contract with the Indian Air Force to deliver 83 LCAs, and will be further enhanced with the manufacturing of GE F414 engines in India for the upcoming LCA Mk-II program.

Chris Cyr, Vice President, Business Development & Sales, GE Aviation, who interacted virtually in the contract-signing event, said, GE has committed to deliver all 99 engines and support services by 2029.

“This is the largest ever deal and purchase order placed by HAL for LCA,” said HAL Chairman & Managing Director R Madhavan.

The F404-GE-IN20 engine is the highest thrust variant of the F404 family and incorporates GE’s latest hot section material and technologies as well as full authority digital engine control (FADEC) for reliable power and outstanding operational characteristics. The F404 family engines have logged in more than 14 million engine flight hours, and powered 15 different production and prototype aircraft.

HAL has been working closely with GE for its support to pursue the export potential of LCA and supply spares to the global supply chain of GE 404 engines, Madhavan said. 

Sixteen LCAs have been delivered in the Initial Operational Clearance phase to constitute IAF’s No 45 Squadron (called Flying Daggers), while No 18 Squadron (Flying Bullets) was raised in May 2020 with its first Tejas aircraft with 15 more to be supplied.