India has been working with the project of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft known as Kaveri Engine. Kaveri is afterburning Turbofan Turbojet Engine flourished by Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) a lab in the authorization of DRDO. DRDO is holding rich experience of three decades for developing and designing high-performance military engines such as Kaveri. This domestically developed engine is speciallymanufactured to supply power to LCA- Tejas. LCA Tejas is multi-role fighter jet with single engine and capacity of a single seat.
The engine is technologically sophisticated and plays a key factor for LCA in future variants. It includes the essential technology thrust for indigenous aircraft. A primary drawback in emerging for Fifth Generation Fighter is its engine. It is ineffective in delivering the execution necessary for a high-grade fighter aircraft. Unfortunately, there was a lack of performance at high altitude, and the present form included solidified blade technology that was unable to tolerate a high temperature of the combustion chamber.
In the year 1986 DRDO authorize to set in motion, but the approval was given after April 1989. In 1989 the work was initiated in full fledge with GTRE because of their experience and potential for delivering fighter engines. This 96-month program estimated with a figure of 57 million but it took more than 25 years and the amount raised to 2,101 crores for development.
Initially, the date was set for launch in 1996 whereas it was given stretch till the year 2009, but it ruins the await external aid. But DRDO couldn’t develop engine as per required thrust power essential for a LCA. In year 2008, the project was delinked but the never kept on halt. Nowadays, A French Company that is well known for designing engines for Rafale combat jets have joint with DRDO and GTRE to fix issues and bring Kaveri Back in action.
Some Problems Kaveri Engine Suffered
The Defence Research and Development Organization face multiple issues with Kaveri Engine program, due to shortcomings. They finally decided to wind up the project. But later on, France provided a helping hand to revive the success of indigenous Kaveri Engine project. Some of the problems that occur before the engine was upgraded were:
- The technological difficulties arise while developing improved engine system.
- There were no raw material or vital components available in the country.
- The engine lack of infrastructure testing facilities. The engine had to be carried to Russia for testing that result in poor finance.
- There was no advanced technology including trained or technical human resources obtainable in the country.
Latest Buzz and improvements in Kaveri Engine.
In the year, 2014 the idea of development was dropped due to lack of various factors. But with Rafael MMRCA deal, it was boon for the country. As Snecma, who developed Rafales M-88 core contribute their help to certify and empower the engine within 18 months. The engineer power resources and nuclear test contrast with the present scenario are improved. Recently as per latest updated, the Engine was tested in endurance mode for about 155 hours which gave a positive sign.
- There is a complete Digital engine control system designed, developed and qualified for the indigenous project.
- Kaveri combined with IL-76 Aircraft was tested successfully.
- Overall of 9 prototypes and four core engine prototypes are developed and assembled with 2550 hours of engine testing.
- The Official Altitude Testing and flying test bed trails were a success.
- Previously, Kaveri could only deliver 70 Kn of thrust while now have sufficient power to deliver 85 Kn thrust.
- A peculiar noise created after initiating the engine, but now it has been solved.
The most prominent mastering attempt of sophisticated technology is about to reach its success. It is expected Kaveri Engine with French assistance would be able to hit in 2020 with the integration of HAL Tejas. This engine would assist a country in achieving self-reliance in a global superpower.