3 minute readKaveri engine production in final negotiation stage: Antony

India’s negotiations with French firm Snecma for the development of a production version of the indigenous Kaveri engine to power military aircraft is in the final stage of cost negotiations, Defense Minister Arackaparambil Kurian Antony told the Indian Upper House of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha Wednesday.

Negotiations with Snecma are being conducted by a tender purchase committee with members from the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Indian Navy and the Defense Finance Department.

“It is proposed to develop production version Kaveri (K10) engine on co-design and co-development basis with Snecma of France. The technical evaluation for this proposal has been completed. Tender purchase committee is negotiating the commercial aspects,” Antony said in a written reply during question hour.

He said so far, nine prototypes of Kaveri engines and four prototypes of Kaveri Core (Kabini) engines have been developed, and about 1,975 hours of testing have been conducted on Kaveri and its core engines at ground and altitude conditions.

Kaveri engine prototype (K9) was integrated with an IL-76 aircraft at Gromov Flight Research Institute in Russia. After adequate engine ground runs, the scientists had successfully completed the taxi trials and the maiden flight test of Kaveri engine with IL-76 aircraft for over an hour on Nov 3 last year, followed by three more flight tests.

“These flight tests covered a six km altitude and a speed of 0.6 mach (0.6 times the speed of sound),” he added.

India had sanctioned the Kaveri engine development project on March 30, 1989, with a probable date of completion in December, 1996 and a cost of INR 382.81 crore. The project cost was later revised to INR 2,839 crore.

Some of the major reasons for time and cost overruns are first-time development of an engine, lack of skilled manpower in engine manufacturing, enhancement in the scope of project during development, lack of infrastructure for engine manufacture testing and component/system level testing within the country.

“Flying test bed trials was not originally included as a milestone in the project. Engine and component failure during testing, which is inevitable in these kind(s) of projects, resulted in changes in design and material based on various reviews,” Antony said.

Foreign manufacturing agencies too showed less priority for the project in view of minimum order quantity, that is the production order quantity from other engine houses.

US sanctions imposed in 1998 (after India’s nuclear tests in Pokhran under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime) affected the delivery of critical systems and components, he added.

The Kaveri engine was originally intended to power India’s indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Since the engine could not be developed for the LCA, the aircraft was powered by the GE-F404 engine. Newer makes of the aircraft will be powered by the GE F-414 engine, after the contract was awarded to General Electric last year.

Meanwhile, PS Subramanyam, program director at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA)has been quoted as saying that the Kaveri development program would be applied to the proposed Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) project.

  1 comment for “3 minute readKaveri engine production in final negotiation stage: Antony

  1. ashokcarrol
    October 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    a national mission for aero engines both commercial and defence needs to be set up , engineers form aero space background , IIts , regional colleges the need to be sent with airforce officers and navy engineer officers to worlds best institutes for Btech , Mtech , phd courses and made to work with world leaders like Ge , prat and whitney , rolls royce ,trent airbus and german , companies . inthe meantime the HAL , GTRE , DRDO ,ADA , CMILAC AND OTHER AEROORGANISATIONS MUST BE AMALGMATED AND SCIENTISTS FROM MIDHANI, IISC , ISRO DRDO CO-OPTED TO STUDY THE CHALLENGES IN METALURGY , SINGLE CRYS BLADES , BLISK SINGLE ROTOR AND BLADE S ,CERAMIC AND CARBON PARTS . BLADE COOLING AND WEIGHT REDUCTION , HIGH ALTITUDE ENGINE TEST FACILTIES AND ALL LABS REQUIRED FOR ENGINE TESTING FROM 5KN TO 250KN BE BUILT IN ONe PLACE AND TOOLING , CNC MACHINES OF 7TH GEN SET UP FROM JAPAN AND GERMANY . A CONSOLIDATED 10 TO 15 YEAR EFFORT WILL RESULT IN COMPLETE INDEPENDANCE OF DESIGNING , CONCIEVING , PRODUCTION , TESTING OF AERO ENGINES SAVING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR AIRFORCE NAVY , ARMY AND RAILWAYS INCLUDING SMALL AND MEDIUM COMMERCIAL AERO ENGINES . IN 25 YRS INDIA CAN PLAN TO OVERTAKE ROLLS ROYCE TRENT AND AIRBUS ENGINE COMPANIES . SIDE BY SIDE WITH JAPANESE AND GERMAN, ITALIAN COMPANIES INDIAN CAR, TRUCK AND BUS COMPANIES MUST COLLBORATE TO DESGIN PRODUCE LATEST CAR , PETROL DISEAL ENGINES TO TAKE THE NATION TO THE FRONTIERS OF TECHNOLGY .

So what do you think?