Under development for over two decades, the indigenous 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, which is expected to be ready by 2016-17, senior officials told PTI here.
The AMCA is a twin-engine indigenous fighter aircraft programme for which initial sanctions have already been accorded by the Defence Ministry, they added.
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 absence of an indigenous 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.