India wants to develop its own ejection seats to facilitate the export of its combat aircraft

Although there are many manufacturers on the planet today offering combat aircraft, certain key technologies remain the prerogative of a handful of carefully selected countries, giving them a powerful lever of control over the world's fighter fleets. . Thus, only 5 countries effectively master turbojet technology, the United States with General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, Great Britain with Rolls-Royce, France with Safran, Russia with EUC Saturn and Klimov, and China with Shenyang and Xi'an. The same goes for the offer in terms of ejection seats, a technology mastered in the West by 2 companies, the British Martin-Baker and the American Collins Aerospace, while Russia with NPP Zvezda and China with HTY (essentially copies of British and Russian models) effectively master this technology. In fact, the manufacturers of ejection seats offer a powerful arm of leverage to their government, as is the case of Martin-Baker, employed for 40 years now to prevent the sale of European and Asian fighter planes to Argentina. by the British government.

Obviously, this dependence is not to the taste of the Indian government, especially since the British ejection seats are considered particularly expensive (around $400.000 against $100.000 for a Russian model), and that Collins Aerospace has not so far agreed to equip non-American devices, allowing the British company to establish itself on 75% of the world market. And this all the more so as New Delhi hoped to find in Argentina a first export opportunity for its Tejas Mk1A, while Buenos Aires seeks to modernize its fighter fleet under British embargo since the Falklands war, and which no longer manages only to fly a handful of A4 Skyhawks and perhaps a few Super Etendards, after London has systematically vetoed possible exports to yesterday's opponent for 40 years. So much so that now Argentina plans to equip itself with Sino-Pakistani JF-17s, which could potentially be equipped with Chinese ejection seats, to the detriment of the South Korean (FA-50), Israeli (Kfir C7) and Indian (Tejas Mk1A) offers, leaving as the only Western alternative only the American F-16s equipped with the seats ACE II by Collins.

china H 6K eject e1667577077364 Analysis Defense | Fighter jets | Military aircraft construction
China is one of 4 countries with an ejection seat supply for combat aircraft

Be that as it may, the Indian aeronautical giant HAL has reportedly begun consultations in order to create a Joint Venture to develop a national ejection seat offer, which would be economical and free from foreign interference, whether for the needs of its own air forces like to support the export of its models. For the moment, no information has filtered on the subject, except that it is a question, as said previously, both of having a more economical model than those proposed by Martin-Baker, and freed from export licensing constraints, to support the fiscal and political competitiveness of Indian fighter jet bids in the international arena. It should be noted, moreover, that a similar effort is being undertaken to develop a high-performance and reliable turbojet engine of national invoice, whereas the Tejas MK1 are equipped with American F404, and that the Tejas Mk2 will be equipped with F414, an area in which the French company Safran seems in a good position to support New Delhi's effort.


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