British jet engine-maker Rolls-Royce is betting big on developing gas turbine technology in India in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It also plans to introduce the Trent 700 jet engines to India.
“As a gas turbine engine company, naturally we are in constant discussion with DRDO on possible opportunities for technical collaboration in gas turbine technology. The UK government stands fully behind in transferring gas turbine technology to India. It is where we see our long-term future with regard to technology collaborations. We look forward to generating intellectual property in creating gas turbine technology in India,” Glenn Kelly, Vice President Customer Business – Defence, Rolls-Royce India, told media.
Kelly said gas turbine engine technology is going to be separately categorized under the Strategic Partnership Policy. Hence, the company is “closely” watching how the policy evolves.
During his visit to India in April, UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon had stated collaboration in new technologies such as gas turbine engines will further strengthen defence ties between India and the UK.
The company is also planning to bring in the new Trent 700 jet engines that power the Airbus A330 tanker aircraft.
“We are planning to bring into India the new Trent 700 engines which will come with the A330 AWACS programme. But for that the Indian Air Force has to first place the order,” Kelly said.
India is planning to place orders worth ₹20,000 crore with Airbus to buy six A330 aircraft to mount the indigenously-built Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
The Westminster-based firm is also closely tracking the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project, the home-grown fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
“Just like all the engine houses, we are closely tracking the AMCA opportunity. This is now at the RFI stage. We naturally hope the RFP will be issued soon. The Indian Air Force wants these indigenous aircraft and it will be their decision on the engine solution whether it is off-the-shelf or indigenous. The RFP will answer these questions,” he added.
Presently, more than 750 Rolls-Royce engines are in operation with the Indian armed forces. Jaguar is powered by Adour Mk811 engines since 1981, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) is powered by Adour Mk871 that trains India’s future pilots. Additionally, the AE 3007 powers Embraer jets on VVIP and surveillance missions and AE 2100 powers the C-130J Hercules.