Kaveri Engine soon to head for High-Altitude Tests

Gas Turbine Research Establishment (G T R E) is preparing to test its Kaveri Engine in High-Altitude Test mode after French Aerospace engine maker Safran has cleared technical audit. G T R E has recently requested to the High-Altitude Test Facilities to send their proposals which can provide their facilities to test Kaveri engine.

The Kaveri project – which was abandoned in 2014 as it did not meet the power requirements of the Air Force – is being revived with French help for use on both the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) project.

Under the terms of the partnership finalised late last year, Snecma is working to modify, certify and integrate the Kaveri on a Light Combat Aircraft airframe before 2020. A later phase in the partnership will involve modifications on the Kaveri for a twin configuration on India’s AMCA fifth generation fighter concept and an altered non-reheat version for the Ghatak UCAV.

In High-Altitude Test Facilities, Experimental engines are allowed to testing in a test cell where altitude and speed conditions can be simulated. High-Altitude Test Facilities usually are capable to simulate Mach 2 to 3 speeds and up to 75000 feet altitudes to testing experimental engines. Safran carried out a technical audit on the Kaveri engine development and submitted a report.

According to the report submitted, it was stated that the Kaveri engine has attained sufficient level of maturity for carrying out a limited envelope flight test integrated with an aircraft.

In 2017, Kaveri engine was tested for 155 hours in endurance mode and performance came out very well and after analyzing the data of the test collected by Safran cleared the engine.

D R D O and Safran plan to start integration work by end of 2018 or early 2019 and major ground trials with Kaveri engine will be scheduled for major part of 2019 before its first flight by 2020.

DRDO Chief Dr S Christopher in 2017 had said that LCA-Tejas will fly with Indo-French Kaveri engine by 2019 Aero IndiaKaveri engine reportedly will be able to generate 88.9 kN to 99 kN of Thrust with afterburner .

It is also planned to use an upgraded version of Kaveri to meet the needs of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)

This implies that the Kaveri turbofan should be upgraded to generate 110-kN wet and 75-kN dry thrust. But then an engine of this capability will need to incorporate single crystal blade technology, integrated rotor disk and blades and super alloys of nickel and cobalt. Kaveri engine in its present form uses directionally solidified blade technology which is rather an old hat. The 20-tonne class AMCA designed for stealth features and super cruise capability is planned to be powered by two GTX Kaveri engines. Significantly, the Kaveri engine has been custom built to operate in the demanding Indian environment that ranges from the hot desert to the freezing mountain heights.


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