India's Kaveri Engine - Good For Something?


India's indigenously developed Kaveri engine may be unfit to power the country's Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) - itself not a stellar performer - but it has found a new home.

On Dec 10, in written reply to a parliamentary question, defense minister AK Anthony says a derivative of the Kaveri can power India's Unmanned Strike Air Vehicle (USAV), planned to enter service by 2020.

Graphic: DRDO

According to the Business Standard, India has no choice but to use a dry (unreheated) version of the Kaveri in the USAV because the international Missile Technology Control Regime bars the export of engines for unmanned aircraft with ranges more than 300km.

Under development by India's Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), the Kaveri's afterburning thrust is less than designed and well short of that needed to power the overweight LCA, but its dry (unreheated) thrust is adequate to power the under-10-tonne USAV, the report says.

The Business Standard says tests at Russia's Gromov Flight Research Institute, mounted on an Il-76 flying testbed, showed the Kaveri's afterburning thrust is 15,800lb, versus the planned 18,200lb. But dry thrust was almost 11,100lb, close to the planned 11,500lb.

Photo: Wikipedia

The Kaveri has been under development at the GTRE since March 1989. Anthony, in his written reply, says 2,200hr of ground and altitude testing have been completed on nine Kaveri prototype engines plus four Kabini core prototypes. In Russia, the engine was flown to Mach 0.7 and almost 40,000ft over 27 flights totalling 57hr.

Development was scheduled to be completed in  December 1996 at a projected cost of  $69.5 million (Rs.382.81 Crore). But because of technical failures and delays, the program was extended and its cost revised to $515 million, of which $362 million has been spent so far, says Anthony.

Because of the Kaveri's failure, the Tejas Mk1 is powered by an imported 19,000lb-thrust GE F404-IN20. But the aircraft is overweight and underpowered, so an enlarged Mk2 version is planned powered by a 22,000lb-thrust GE F414-INS6.

India's USAV, meanwhile, looks a lot like Europe's Dassault-led Neuron unmanned combat-aircraft technology demonstrator (below), which made its first flight in France in early December. The Neuron demonstrator is powered by a 9,000lb-thrust Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour.

Photo: Dassault

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week's defense blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 12

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 28

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×