DRDO is struggling in developing the Nickel and Cobalt superalloys
They will reach that point and will not be able to overcome it.
Trouble with the likes of Shook-Laws and In-Laws and their ilk is that they mix up multiple things and make a "Kichdi" out of it.
Lets try to get some "facts" that Shukla seems to have gleaned and let us unscramble the "Shukla isms" layered on top of it.
"Fact" as far as I can make out from the article.
1) Kaveri seems to be within striking range of achieving (around 95% to 98%) of design dry thrust
2) Wet thrust has around 10KN shortfall from the design target of 80KN ?
3) Single crystal turbine blades are still some way off ..
Now that we have unscrambled the Shukla-isms and got to the core facts, let us put the thinking caps on and speculate.
1) Dry thrust is good news. The design tweaks /performance shortfalls will be fixed that can achieve it's design goals.
2) Wet thrust.. Now, the afterburner is an add on piece. It is designed such that the turbo machinery upstream simply never feels it and has no bearing whatsoever whether it is on or off. So if there is a wet thrust shortfall, all that needs to be fixed is the after burner .
a) Will need to find out the root cause of performance shortfall. Could be multiple things.. flow losses, combustion losses, combustion efficiency .. etc etc. , or simply bad design , so that the turbo machinery feels back pressure from afterburner and chokes (this is too simplistic..but cant rule that out.. this is something like the back pressure from the tuned exhaust expander in the two stroke motorcycle engine being used to stop the incoming charge from flowing into the exhaust.. I think GTRE would be well adviced to do a good analysis of the vibration and acoustics of the afterburner pipe and check out the harmonics).
b) Good news here is ,after burner stuff is much less complex to fix than the core engine.. no moving parts, math and physics modelling is much easier for this and so is testing , tweaking and fixing.
3) This Single Crystal is not relevant at all to the current Kaveri thrust short fall if the dry thrust is nearly there (read again about afterburner and no effect on turbo machinery). Yes.. To get a full 110 to 120KN version going with the required T:W ratio of current engines, you need it. No getting away from it. But that can wait for a few years and is not needed right now, once the decision to de-link Kaveri from LCA is made.
4) Yeah, once you make the engine for AMCA decision, you are looking at a 125KN class engine (I had said this long long ago... in one of my earlier posts in this thread, do look back, to delink Kaveri from LCA and go for a 125KN class engine for AMCA.. that is the right thing to do and it has finally happened), yes, with the engineering and turbo machinery base we have from getting the Kaveri to this stage, we can make the jump to the higher thrust class. For that.
a) The materials program in DRDO/Midhani matures and we get the materials
b) We get the materials and the subsystem and testing/bug fixing help from a partner and we are plugged into the global supply chain for gas turbines.
So I think 4 (b) is the better bet. If Midhani finally comes up with the materials, future versions can get progressively more indigenous. The trouble with going forward with designs without the indigenous material and R&D base will see a 20 year project, as seen from the IGMDP programs and also the Kaveri itself.
And oh, maybe the DRDO are better off talking to these small "jugaad", highly skilled engineering guys who upgrade and maintain gas turbines, rather than the global biggies out to get their pound of flesh. These guys will jump at an opportunity for large business, will be more flexible and will be easier to work with and have fewer conflicts.. from a quick Google search, sort of like this
.. Notice how between the three of them , the small guys have a complete ecosystem of being able to come up with a material, fabricate it and then replace the OEM hot section and test it out and put it back in the field.
This is exactly the kind of thing the Nehruvian socialism and the Public Sector only fetish and everything driven by Baboo(n)s, supplemented by Natasha driven "Screw Driver Indigenization" and killed in India and drove the folks who could have done stuff like this abroad for 50 years.