India and the US explore joint production in defence, covering ground mobility vehicles, F414 engines, MQ-9B drones, and advance cooperation on SOSA and LEMOA
New Delhi: India has officially expressed its interest in a joint production venture with the United States for the manufacturing of Ground Mobility Systems (Stryker armoured vehicles) and other Defence platforms, as revealed by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane. The announcement was made during a joint media briefing with Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra as part of the 2+2 dialogue.
Aramane disclosed that the discussions also encompassed proposed deals for the joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines and the procurement of next-generation armed drones from the US. He stated, “An initial offer on the infantry combat vehicles has come from the US. We have expressed our interest in discussing it further to take the co-production part ahead.” This move is considered a significant step in the roadmap for future Defence industrial cooperation between the two nations, aimed at expediting technology collaboration and co-production in critical areas.
The Stryker vehicles, produced by US-based General Dynamics Land Systems, will likely hold strategic importance in India’s mechanised infantry transformation. Aramane underscored the importance of initiatives established during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US in June, indicating that the ongoing 2+2 dialogue is a continuation of these vital steps. Additionally, Aramane provided updates on the collaborative production of F414 engines for India’s light combat aircraft (LCA) TEJAS MK-2 program, involving GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The deal, valued at approximately $1 billion, entails an 80% transfer of technology.
Concerning the proposed acquisition of 31 MQ-9B remotely piloted aircraft systems, Aramane stated that India has submitted a letter of request to the US Government. The response from the US company, General Atomics, is pending clearance. The versatile drones, capable of various roles, are offered to India for $3.07 billion.
The joint statement issued following the 2+2 dialogue highlighted the commitment to deepen the Defence partnership, with a focus on increased complexity in military exercises, accelerated joint projects, and expanded collaboration in emerging domains such as space and artificial intelligence. The roadmap for Defence industrial cooperation was reaffirmed as a catalyst for strengthening India’s capabilities and promoting technology-sharing. Ministers from both nations also acknowledged progress in co-production and co-development of Defence systems, expressing mutual interest in ground mobility systems. They emphasised the importance of encouraging investment in India’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) sector, welcoming commitments from the US industry to enhance India’s MRO capabilities.
Key priorities in the roadmap included the Security of Supply Arrangement (SOSA) and the U.S.-India Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X), aiming to integrate Defence industrial ecosystems and strengthen supply chain resilience. The Ministers commended advances in interoperability and welcomed India’s full membership in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).
Additionally, the Ministers anticipated further discussions on the Logistics and Exchange Memorandum Agreement (LEMOA), identifying reciprocal steps to enhance the reach of their respective militaries.