Saturday, March 26, 2011

drdo's two decade programme kaveri engine tested successfully at russia and germany

The indigenously designed and developed Kaveri Engine was successfully flight tested by DRDO yesterday during the Flying Test Bed (FTB) Trials at Gromov Flight Research Institute (GFRI), Moscow, Russia. The engine was tested from take-off to landing and flew for a period of over one hour up to at an altitude of 6000m at a speed of 0.6 mach in its maiden flight. The engine control, engine performance and engine health during the flight were found to be excellent.

With this test, Kaveri Engine has completed a major milestone of the development program. During the coming months further 50-60 test flights will be carried out to mature the engine in terms of reliability, safety and airworthiness. These trials would pave the way for further flight trials of Kaveri Engine with a fighter aircraft.

An existing IL-76 aircraft was modified as a Flying Test Bed for this trial, with Kaveri engine replacing one of the four engines of the aircraft. The modifications included instrumentation required for trials as well as integration of mechanical, electrical and fuel system. The engine was controlled by the pilot from the cockpit. A number of taxi trials were carried out with Kaveri Engine integrated with the aircraft, before this maiden flight. The engine data was recorded in the aircraft as well as transmitted to ground station by telemetry.
A DRDO project for over two decades, the fighter jet engine Kaveri will be used for powering the home-grown fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). Being developed by DRDO's Gas Turbine research Establishment (GTRE), the Kaveri was initially being developed for the LCA Tejas programme but now it will be used on the AMCA.

The AMCA is expected to be ready by 2016-17, senior officials told Press Trust if India. The AMCA is a twin-engine indigenous fighter aircraft programme for which initial sanctions have already been accorded by the Defence Ministry, they added.

A team of 20 scientists from Gas Turbine Research Establishment, DRDO, have been working along with GFRI for these trials. Dr Prahlada, Chief Controller, R&D (Aeronautics & Services Interaction) briefed the Media about the significance of the first flight.

Kaveri engine is being developed for fighter aircraft, at Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), a DRDO laboratory based in Bangalore with the active support of several other DRDO labs, academic institutions and industry partners. During the development phase, Kaveri engine has successfully completed various stages of development including component testing, safety tests, ground based engine tests, endurance tests etc, both at GTRE as well as test facilities abroad.

The indigenous fighter aircraft engine programme was first started in 1986 and has suffered delays and cost over-runs. It was also marred by the technology denial regimes in the 90s. After not being able to get the desired thrust for powering fighter aircraft, the DRDO entered into a Joint Venture with the French engine manufacturers Snecma to further enhance its capabilities.

"In recent times, the engine has been able to produce thrust of 70-75 Kilo Newton but what the IAF and other stake-holders desire is power between 90—95 KN. I think with the JV with Snecma in place now, we would be able to achieve these parameters in near future," they said.

On using the Kaveri for the LCA, they said the engine would be fitted on the first 40 LCAs to be supplied to the IAF when they come for upgrades to the DRDO in the latter half of the decade. Due to the lack of readiness of the Kaveri engine, GE engines from the United States were procured to power the LCAs and recently, another tender was awarded to the American company for supplying 99 engines for the advanced version of the Tejas.

On the present status of the programme, officials said the maiden flight test of the Kaveri was completed successfully during the Flying Test Bed (FTB) trials at the Gromov Flight Research Institute in Moscow November last year. During the coming months, 50-60 test flights will be carried out to mature the engine in terms of reliability, safety and airworthiness.

These trials would pave the way for further flight trials of Kaveri engine with a fighter aircraft, they added.