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Monday, 4 March 2019

Why is India unable to develop a jet engine for fighter aircrafts?

Aircraft design and development is a very costly enterprise. The fixed costs involved in design and manufacture of
new aircraft for the companies involved in design and manufacturing is very high. This is so even if the government carries some of the financial burden. However, despite the consequent reduction in cost, designing and building a modern state-of-the-art fighter aircraft such as the F-18 cost the design and manufacturing companies about US $ 5 billion in 1975.These costs remained much too high for manufacturers to bear.
The Indian Aircraft Industry is dominated by one big public sector player—Hindustan Aeronautics limited (HAL). Starting out as a private company, HAL was nationalised at the time of independence. It is involved in both designing and manufacturing aircraft. Alongside HAL, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is responsible for research and development.Until the economic reforms of 1991, private players were not allowed to operate in the aircraft industry in India. Since then a few big businesses have expressed interest in entering into this field. A few more government owned and run organisations exist such as the National Aeronautics Laboratories (NAL) and the Aircraft Development Agency (ADA). Being government-owned and run as part of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), these organisations suffer from the ills of bureaucracy and reliance upon the government for funds and clearances for R&D. Moreover, projects are mostly undertaken only when a specific requirement is projected by the user to the government. This situation leads to difficulties in retention of expertise and lack of regular R&D in cutting-edge technologies. HAL and DRDO have had some success in the design and manufacture of trainers such as the HT-2 and HJT-16 both of which saw extensive service with the IAF. Fighter projects such as the HF-24 Marut did not meet full designed performance expectations due to the non-availability of engine.
Jet engines are one of the most challanging and complex machines ever made…they are really engineering marvels.Best fighter engines are produced by only a couple of companies in the world with decades of experience
Let's come to Kaveri engine sage
An overview of the Kaveri situation was provided by the GTRE director, T. Mohan Rao
1- He pointed out the major factor in delays being them not being given enough infrastructure and testing facilities - Govt has not given funds, babus have sat on them. Instead, they have had to go to CIAM in Russia and Anecom in Germany for tests
2- He mentioned 4 key areas where we lack
a. BLISK - integrated single Blade and Disk
b. Single Crystal blades - he categorically said - We do not have that tech at all.
c. Thermal Barrier Coatings - TBC - very critical for high temp engine operation. A talk on this by an American Indian prof attracted a house full audience. He mentioned that this is highly critical and export controlled, so they dont have it.
d. In recent times the engine has been able to produce thrust of 70-75 Kilo Newton but what the IAF and other stake-holders desire is power between 90—95 KN
Mohan Rao appealed that people should realize that this tech takes time and money and more importantly, willpower and support.... its not being given by foriegn nations so if we have to develop it needs support,all though he said that We have a functional engine, but there is a slight shortfall in performance. It has achieved dry thrust of 4,600kg and reheat thrust of 7,000kg in Bangalore, which is around 3,000ft above sea level. So, it would be around 5,000kg dry thrust and 7,500kg reheat thrust at sea level. The engine is short of thrust by 400kg and overweight by around 150kg. Also, we still have to perform long- endurance tests of the engine to run for many hours

1 comment:

  1. Single crystal blade technology was transferred with the su 30 deal. Honeywell too was willing to give it as a part of the hawk deal. Vested interests scuttled it

    ReplyDelete

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