The India-U.S. Joint Working Group on jet engine cooperation within the framework of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), “has been suspended,” said Ellen M. Lord, U.S. Under-secretary of Defence Acquisition and Sustainment.
However, on Thursday the two sides agreed to a joint statement of intent (SOI) to deepen defence technology cooperation which also outlines specific short, middle and long-term projects under DTTI.
“We could not come to an understanding of what exportable technologies would be useful to the Indians and we did run into a challenge in terms of U.S. export controls,” Ms. Lord said, elaborating on the suspension of the jet engine technology cooperation. She added that there was an “enormous amount of aircraft technology” that the two countries could work on together and the teams are working to identify areas of common interest. Earlier in the day, the official chaired the DTTI talks with her Indian counterpart Secretary Defence Production Subhash Chandra.
During the talks, the two sides identified seven projects under the SoI which aims to deepen defence technology cooperation, and interoperability consistent with shared national security interests and respective national laws. This SoI will be formalised in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that is in the works.
“Next, we agreed to a near-term timeline to complete a DTTI SOP that will guide us as we try to coordinate projects under two different systems. We identified the upcoming 2+2, potentially this December in Washington D.C., as a near-term opportunity to finalize the SOP,” Ms. Lord said speaking to a small group of journalists.
These include three near term projects — air-launched small Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), lightweight small arms technology and Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), two mid-term projects — Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) solution and virtual augmented reality solutions for aircraft maintenance (VAMRAM), and two long term projects — terrain shaping obstacle and Counter UAS Rocket Artillery and Mortar systems (CU-RAM). On the timelines, she said the near term projects are those which will move to either a project agreement or a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case “within six months or so.”
The DTTI was announced in 2012 as an ambitious initiative for co-production and co-development of military systems but has never really taken off despite several efforts.
As part of engaging the industry within the framework of DTTI, the inaugural meeting on October 21 of the DTTI-industry collaboration forum, a formal industry listening session was held which saw the participation of seven U.S. and over 20 Indian companies. “These issues were then introduced directly into my meetings and DTTI Group discussions,” Ms. Lord stated.