Sunday, October 5, 2008

MIDHANI-Developed Alloys For Tejas LCA & Kaveri Turbofan


Max said...

For Kaveri LOLZ whatta waste of their time. Prasun the Kaveri project is scrapped isn't it? I mean they're no more doing it in-house but teaming up with some western company right?

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Max: No, the Kaveri turbofan's R & D is still on-going. The project isn't and shouldn't be scrapped. For the Tejas LCA the problem is not the engine itself. Foreign collaboration with GE, SNECMA and EUROJET is being sought to make the configuration weight-budgeted. The problem was never the turbofan's design or performance. The problem was the ASQR from IAF HQ that kept on shifting the goalposts till as late as 2005. The IAF now wants the LCA to carry a heavier weapons load than what it had specified earlier, hence the search is on for an uprated powerplant. Also, you must bear in mind that financial allocations from the MoD were accorded sequentially for each stage of the LCA's R & D process, and it was not a simultaneous allocation as has been the case in other countries. The IAF is perfectly willing to acquire about 40 LCAs in the air superiority configuration armed with WVR & BVR air combat missiles and using the existing GE powerplant. But the IAF wants the bulk of the LCAs to be as formidable as the Gripen IN and it has made this request knowing fully well that such a challenge is achievable now that India's aerospace industry has achieved the necessary core technological competencies.
What has not yet been clarified is whether the uprated Kaveri, once it arrives, will also be considered for powering the FGFA instead of the AL-31FP. Afterall, if a homegrown turbofan is flight-qualified on the LCA, there's no reason why it can't be done on the FGFA.
Also, let us not forget that the Kaveri's marine industrial gas turbine variant has great potential and may be ordered in large numbers by the Indian Navy.

max said...


Most importantly, AL31 is a proven, workable engine, unlike the Kaveri. For immediate use it would be better to go for something like that, while Kaveri can be kept for future applications, say 10 years down the road. After all I doubt it'll be ready any sooner.

How can it not be the engine's promlem itself when we read about its failure when it was sent for testing in Russia? If you don't attribute that as "a problem with the engine" I don't know what else to say.

Anyway for the next batch of Tejas does it mean it'll be fitted with an off the shelf engine? Because there's no way even foreign coorperation in the Kaveri's development is gonna get the engine ready in less than 3 years (or anywhere close).

On Kaveri's marine application I found it rather ammusing. I mean how is a turbofan engine gonna be used in a ship? Sorry for my ignorance but I really cannot imagine how an aircraft engine evolves into a ship engine. It seems like it jumped to "C" even before stopping at "B"

max said...

No, actually its like jumping to "C" from nowhere :=)

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Max, the engines that were sent to Russia's TsAGI for high-altitude testing were not Kaveris, but the Kabini core engines only. The Kaveri turbofan cannot be tested unless and until it reaches its definitive configuration. And mind you, the Kaveri's turbine compressor blades are (as of now) of the directionally solidified type, and not single-crystal turbine blades (as specified by the IAF's ASQR), which MIDHANI is still to fabricate on an industrial scale. If enough money is made available and the MoD acts decisively, then the definitive Kaveri can be available within 3 years, based on the briefing I got from SNECMA Moteurs a few months back. I personally would like to see SNECMA or Eurojet team up with GTRE to flight-qualify the Kaveri for not only the LCA, but also the FGFA. The AL-31FP is not a good option technologically as its TTSL is still 2,000 hours, whereas the Kaveri will have a TTSL of more than 6,000 hours asnd therefore its total life-cycle costs will be 300% lower.
Regarding marine industrial gas turbines, ALL such existing turbines worldwide are derivatives of turbofans originally developed for aircraft, be it the US, British or Ukrainian turbines. Even those marine gas turbines that are now being used by ONGC as captive powerplants for the offshore oil rigs are modified Rolls-Royce Orpheus engines that originally powered the Gnats. In fact, HAL and UAC are now jointly explorinbg the prospects of using the R-11/R-25 andR-29B engines of the decommissioned MiGs as industrial gas turbines that will be container-mounted and be land- and air-mobile and will be used as captive power plants for industrial purposes and disaster-relief. In the US they're even using the engines of the Bell UH-1H Huey turboshafts as captive power plants to generate up to 3mWe.

max said...

reply @ your newer kaveri tpoic