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In a move that will help in the indigenisation of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas manufacturing, Defence Research and Development Organisation is working on an engine deal to enable co-development with manufacturers, informed DRDO chairman Samir Kamat on Tuesday.

DRDO chief's remark affirms the statement made by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh of starting the production of LCA engines in India soon.

The organisation had shown the Tapas drones at the ongoing Aero India show in Bengaluru. In addition to that, DRDO also showcased UAV Archer, which could also be weaponised. DRDO also has developed a set of new missiles, including the Akash NG, VSHORADS, and MPATGM, said the DRDO chairman in an ANI interview.

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"I can say that our weapon systems are on par with the best and indigenous," he added.

Apart from the manufacturing of LCA engines, the DRDO is also planning to begin the manufacturing of engines for the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft(AMCA) Mark 2 with three defence firms in three countries.

Also: 10 big highlights from Aero India Show in Bengaluru

Samir Kamat gave timeline for the induction of LCA Mark 2 as well. He said tha the LCA Mark 2 should be ready for induction by 2028. The first flight of the AMCA Phase 1 may take seven years and the induction can be done in ten years from now. 

" We cannot predict the timeline of the AMCA Mark 2 with a new engine until we sign an engine deal for co-development with another OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). We have been holding discussions with Safran France, GE from the US, and Rolls Royce from the UK,"he added.

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The new LCA Mark 2 will use American GE-414 engines. The government is working for a collaboration with GE and they are keen on the deal, said Samit. After the recieving the US clearance, the engines would be manufactured indigenously by India.

The matter of the indigenous manufacturing of the LCA was discussed during NSA Ajit Doval's US visit. During the visit, the US government assured of opening the indigenous manufacturing of the engines. Manufacturing in India will begin soon after the transfer of technology, which is expected to take place in the next 3-6 months.

In addition to fighter planes, India's air defence system is expected to get a boost as DRDO is planning to develop India's first tripod-fired very short-range air defence system. As of now, a shoulder-fired version of the defence system has already been cleared by the Indian Army.

(With agency inputs)

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Updated: 14 Feb 2023, 12:40 PM IST
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