India Considers New Partnership Options For Kaveri Engine

AIN News Live » Aero India » 2013
February 4, 2013, 2:42 PM

India’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) has confirmed that it has abandoned plans to jointly develop and produce the Kaveri military aircraft engine solely with France’s Snecma. The change in plan has come after India ordered 99 of General Electric’s F-414 engines—in preference to the Eurojet 2000 engine—for its indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Mark II program, for which the Kaveri is supposed to be an alternative powerplant. “We still need an overseas partner, but it will not be Snecma on a single-vendor basis,” CP Ramnarayanan, director of the DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) recently told Indian reporters. “We will select our partner through competitive bidding.”

A DRDO official told AIN on condition of anonymity that if the Kaveri partnership is retendered the contenders will be Snecma and Russia’s Saturn. “Today’s [engine] technology requires the same weight ratio to have much more power with low maintenance costs. The Russian philosophy is to make it cheaper and let maintenance be somebody else’s headache,” he commented.

However, some analysts have described the decision as a wise one given that GTRE will already get some access to technology for Snecma’s M88 engine that powers Dassault Aviation’s Rafale multirole fighter that India has selected. From an Indian perspective, this lessened the case for cooperating with Snecma on the Kaveri engine. However, according to a government defense official speaking on condition of anonymity, India will have to wait much longer for crystal blade technology, metallurgy and a full understanding of the hot section under the terms of its existing transfer of technology agreement.

What remains to be seen is whether India may now pursue an alternative Russian-led option for developing the Kaveri engine. In 2010, Russia’s Central Institute for Aviation Motors (TsIAM) conducted flight testing of a Kaveri turbofan on an Ilyushin Il-76 test bed. This research into how to achieve the desired performance was presented to the Indians, who in theory could now opt to reconsider a Russian partnership for the program.

 

 

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Venkat
on March 23, 2013 - 6:19pm

The Kaveri Engine project started in 1986. The government has been throwing good money over bad for almost 3 decades. What have we got to show for it? Are our scientists incompetent, or is there too much interference from the politicians? We need to master crystal blade technology soon. If Russians have it why not get it from them at a much lower cost? Put strong project managers and QA managers on the project. Make people responsible for meeting deadlines. We cannot keep missing one deadline after another, delaying projects by years, even decades.

This is shameful. The next generation has to take charge and kick out people who got employment in places like HAL, NAL, DRDO only because they knew someone in the company or because they bribed a minister or a bureaucrat. About time we took people purely based on education, skills, and, where applicable, prior accomplishments.

Incompetence, lethargy and corruption have plagued the country for way too long.

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roshan
on July 20, 2013 - 2:17am

The single crystal blade technology has been mastered only by few countries and they have been developing engines for a way longer time period. Actually the kaveri has already achieved its target of 81 kn wet thrust and 52 kn dry thrust. The problem is lca went overweight because iaf changed the ASR as late as 2006. Nobody will give india the crystal blade tech. That's why the JV with snecma fell apart. They wanted to use the same M88 eco core with us developing only the other parts which meant no gain in technology. Developing such critical tech has to be done us ourselves and takes time to mature. Our scientists are definitely not incompetent. We were non existent in jet engine tech earlier. We have leapfrogged from 1950's tech to that of late 2000's. The kaveri is actually better than the RD-33 used on mig 29. We have a actually got a working engine which can be used in case of unexpected turn of events. Even china is not too far ahead in this field. It will be a long time before kaveri is operationalized and we have some work left but we are surely getting there!!

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P.K.Senapati
on April 2, 2013 - 1:55am

Further kaveri development to modify its fan to impouve performance can be taken up with Russians immediately without further dalay as they are already in the partnership for design consultancy and flight test for Kaveri. Once Flight test second phase is successfuley completed and reliability of engine is proven it can be integrated with LCA Tejas for furthjer triels and suitability for airforce applications. If found acceptable to IAF a limited series production of Kaveri and LCA-Kaveri variant can start.

No Avatar
P.K.Senapati
on April 2, 2013 - 1:56am

Further kaveri development to modify its fan to impouve performance can be taken up with Russians immediately without further dalay as they are already in the partnership for design consultancy and flight test for Kaveri. Once Flight test second phase is successfuley completed and reliability of engine is proven it can be integrated with LCA Tejas for furthjer triels and suitability for airforce applications. If found acceptable to IAF a limited series production of Kaveri and LCA-Kaveri variant can start.

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SaiK
on April 4, 2013 - 5:23pm

We have already been on the path for getting foreign help, and it feels like million years gone and million help taken. Instead of wasting time and money on foreign help, get a list of task to be done, and get private consultants to work on it. Ensure, some neat investment plan is made where DRDO scientists as consultants are paid well, and get this done. This turbine industry is lagging in India, and needs a lot of help. We need to pool in talents from wide cross section, and this is entirely doable in India. GTRE needs to be reorganized and better heads are in place to ensure this happens in time.

More money need for engine flight testing similar to the ones Grumov has or GE/PW has. Phased development plan is required, and we need to get this Kaveri on one of the LCAs as the need of the hour. Without LCA taking Kaveri, there is no future for it.

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Raj
on May 14, 2013 - 3:06am

It has made to be fail . Just compare bypass ratio with any jet engine. For bypass ratio u dont need special tech . Kaveri engine bypass ratio is .16 & any other jet engine like rd93 has .49 . Gtre and drdo making india fool.

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