DRDO still aims for Kaveri in LCA

Kaveri, the indigenous aeroengine with over 25 years’ chequered story, may after all fly on the indigenous LCA fighter as was originally planned.

Senior officials of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which spearheads the two marquee programmes, said on Sunday that they hoped to to take the help of an overseas aeroengine maker to revive Kaveri, remove its shortcomings and get it certified to safely power the fighter.

France’s engine maker Snecma, which already has projects with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, is seen as a candidate; it could come on the back of offsets (or return obligations) that are due after the government ordered 36 Rafale fighter planes from another French company Dassault for nearly Rs. 59,000 crore.

“We will most probably use it for the LCA [Light combat Aircraft]. If not, we will use it for ‘Ghatak’, the proposed combat drone,” said DRDO Chairman S. Christopher, who is also Secretary, Defence R&D, at a news conference here. The engine was test flown on a Russian IL-76 aircraft back in 2011 and was found wanting on at least five counts, scientists had earlier said.

C.P. Ramanarayanan, who as Director General (Aero R&D) heads the aeronautics labs and their programmes, said Rs. 2,100 crore has been pumped into the Kaveri programme.

Tejas certification ::

LCA Tejas will undergo the remaining three or four mandated tests up to March and will go in for certification as battle-ready or ‘FOC’ by mid-2017.

Aeronautical Development Agency Director Commodore C.D. Balaji (retd) said one of the prototypes would be fitted with a probe or nozzle for mid-air refuelling and begin flight tests in a few weeks. An actual refuelling with a flying tanker would be tried out by March 2017.

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Source:- The Hindu

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