US Defence Secretary Carter to arrive today

US Defence Secretary Carter to arrive today

US Defence secretary Ashton Carter will arrive in India on Tuesday for renewing a 10-year defence framework cooperation agreement with India under which the two countries are likely to co-produce critical military technologies including jet engines.

Carter will arrive first in the Eastern Naval command in Vishakhapatnam, where he will be given a briefing on Indian Navy and shown some of the warships. Subsequently, he will reach Delhi to have bilateral discussions with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar.

New Delhi and Washington negotiated the text of the Defence Framework Agreement between the two nations for the next 10-year as the existing framework signed in 2005 expired last year.

During US President Barak Obama’s visit earlier this year, the US agreed to work with India in developing its own jet engine. At the bilateral between Carter and Parrikar, the two sides are likely to discuss the specifics on the jet engine, for powering the future generation of Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

The Defence Trade and Technology between the USA and India also agreed to “form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design, and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.”

Foreign secretary S Jaishankar, who was then the Indian Ambassador to the USA stated, “The cooperation would be broader than the Kaveri programme.”

Originally meant for use in the indigenous (LCA), the Kaveri jet engine was being developed with support from Russia. But the engine developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Bengaluru, can fly the engines only for 73 hours on the IL-76 Flying Test Bed (FTB) in Russia. Becuase of the delay on the Kaveri, the DRDO picked up the US-made GE 404 engine for Tejas Mk-1 and GE 414 for Tejas Mk-II aircraft.

To start with the co-production activities, the DTTI identified four “pathfinder projects” - Raven unmanned aerial vehicles, roll-on, roll-off intelligence-gathering and reconnaissance modules for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, mobile electric hybrid power sources and a protection gear for soldiers operating in a nuclear, chemical and biological warfare environment.

On the aircraft carrier, Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan said the Navy was yet to finalise the technology choices for the second aircraft carrier. A detailed technical report is being prepared, based on which the defence ministry would decide on the propulsion and launch technologies for carrier.

Parrikar and Carter would also discuss on the possible participation by the Indian Air Force in the Red Flag exercise of the US Air Force.

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