During a visit to India in May 2017, a team from Safran offered DRDO full scope transfer of technology for developing combat aircraft engines in India.
Safran, a Dassault partner, makes the Rafale's M88 engine and has reportedly proposed to invest Euro one billion as part of Rafale offset obligations to help India acquire the competence to develop combat aircraft engines.
The Safran proposal ostensibly involves building upon the work done by GTRE in developing the Kaveri engine with M88 technologies.
Speaking to the press in New Delhi on May 16, 2017, a Safran official proudly pointed out that in the past France had helped India attain technical competence to make rocket engines and light helicopter engines (See Box: Powering Indian Aerospace Competence). Now, France is ready to help India gain technical competence in developing combat aircraft engines.
The Safran offer is claimed to have been well received by the DRDO.
Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth?
The Safan offer isn't new - it was first made in 2009 but after making some headway ended up in a fizzle. Ironically, the offer was opposed by the Indian Air Force because it wanted a proven, in production, engine to power the LCA!
The Safran offer would have required extensive modifications to the M88 engine for reasons which will become clear while reading through the subsequent paragraphs.
So, why is Safran pitching old wine in a new bottle? Perhaps, because it's good wine! Circumstances may well have changed now, with the Rafale deal and Make-in-India emphasis, for the MoD to take a second look at the Safran proposal.