RaviBg wrote:IAF, research firm lock hornsIAF, research firm lock horns
Bidanda M Chengappa ,DH News Service,Bangalore:
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and the City-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) are divided over development of the controversial Kaveri engine for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
Informed sources aver that the Kaveri engine, if developed with its present thrust, is insufficient to power the LCA in accordance with the IAF's operational requirements. This implies that the Kaveri engine has to be re-designed to generate a higher thrust. Therefore the IAF has already convinced the government to de-link the Kaveri engine from the first few LCA squadrons.
The GTRE, which forms part of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), was compelled to seek help from foreign aero-engine majors to co-develop the Kaveri engine in late 2004, because it could not make much headway having spent Rs 2,000 crore since 1989. The GTRE lacks the know-how to develop 'hot end' components for an aero- engine which comprise the core of the Kaveri engine. Considering only a handful of eastern countries possess the scientific capability to develop aero-engine technologies, the GTRE felt that joint development was the only solution to get the Kaveri engine ready for the LCA on some schedule.
Accordingly the GTRE was keen on co-development of the Kaveri engine with the French aero-engine manufacturer Snecma.
The French offer proposes to bring the core of an already developed M-82 Eco engine in the late 1970s and tailored for the Rafale fighter aircraft for use in the Kaveri.
However the IAF has serious reservations about the transfer of technology route for further development of the Kaveri engine. Accepting the Snecma offer implies importing the core and its integration with the Kaveri engine; besides paying a lifelong royalty, say the sources. This French technology would cost the exchequer dearly and also lead to a technology transfer stretched out over a 15-year period, they add.
An IAF committee, instituted in September 2008 to study the Snecma offer, feels that it would not meet the air force's operational requirement nor help to acquire technology for futuristic development of an aero-engine for a fighter aircraft.
It also observes that the offer would prove detrimental to the DRDOs efforts to develop the Kaveri engine till now.
The GTRE and the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory, Hyderabad have been at the forefront of the Kaveri engine development and form part of the DRDO 's 49 laboratories spread across the length and breadth of the country.
The original deal was that both partners, namely, the GTRE and the chosen foreign aero-engine major would contribute financially and technologically in equal measure.
this is the most useless reason that can be offered ! how come the IAF doesn't care about paying royalties for taking Turbomeca help for the Shakti engine? how come they dont care about any of the innumerable cases where parts or the entire product is imported ? now, when the Kaveri can be developed with someone else's help because GTRE cannot do it on its own, they suddenly care for indigenisation and want them to be forced to develop it on their own? what a joke !!