Why lack of Progress in Kaveri engine Should be a major concern for IAF
Dr. S Christopher, Previous Chairman of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in 2017 edition of Aero India had announced that Indigenously developed Kaveri engine developed by its associated lab Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), will power an LCA-Tejas Prototype by 2019 edition of Aero India.
Many back then had questioned the viability of having a workable Kaveri engine in a such a short period of time even though it was officially known at that time that Safran, a French company which manufactures engines for Rafale combat jets had become the technical consultant for the GTRE to help fix issues with the Kaveri engine.
Last update on the program was that the Safran which carried out the technical audit of the program has cleared the Kaveri engine for integration into LCA-Tejas aircraft to carry out limited flight envelope trials before that GTRE is required to clear Kaveri Engine in High-Altitude Trials for that it will be heading to overseas High-Altitude Test Facilities and in 2017, Kaveri engine was tested for 155 hours in endurance mode.
Now it’s appearing that DRDO is developing the engine on its own with no foreign power ready to part with hot engine technology under reasonable term.
GTRE is rightly focusing on improving the already creditable dry thrust of the engine, It has improved on its compressor technology. In view of the limited funding, GTRE is banking on the Ghatak UCAV project for further flight testing of the engine rather than the LCA.
A failure on the Ghatak would be much easier to absorb than a failure on the LCA. Once dry performance and reliability of the engine aare proven on the Ghatak, GTRE will immediately embark on reheat development aiming for a kick-ass Indian fighter aircraft power-plant!
Dry Kaveri is important for Ghatak UCAV program and Upgraded Kaveri engines are important for Indian Air Force to replace currently American supplied GE’s Engines to reduce its dependency on imported engines and also ensure that it is not affected by sanctions or lack of supplies in case of war to around 200+ LCA-Tejas aircraft.
Source- Former Jaguar Pilot Vijainder K Thakur!/ AMCA Facebook Page