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Kaveri engine will catapult India
into select club: IAF chief
Fakir Chand in bangalore | February 07, 2003 02:37 IST
India is on the verge of joining a select group of countries, which manufacture engines for the aviation industry, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy told reporters in Bangalore on Thursday.
The indigenously built Kaveri engines would be India's ticket to this club.
At present, only the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China manufacture engines for military and civilian aircraft, including helicopters.
Kaveri is now awaiting certification for air-worthiness, Krishnaswamy said.
Once that is obtained, it would be used on the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the supersonic fighter jet.
The Kaveri engine has been designed and developed by the Bangalore-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment and the Aeronautical Development Agency under the aegis of the Defence Research and Development Organization.
Some time in February, it would undergo high altitude tests in Russia.
"The engine has already gone through several hours of testing at the GTRE. Final trials will be conducted in Russia. It will also be fitted on an Ilyushin TU-17 aircraft to test its efficiency in real-time operations," Krishnaswamy stated.
The DRDO had embarked on developing the Kaveri engine after India faced delays and problems in getting GE-F404 engines for the LCA.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), in association with the ADA, built the first two LCA prototypes as technology demonstrators using General Electric engines. Subsequently, post-Pokhran sanctions by the US administration created hurdles in securing more such engines for the LCA project.
Delivering the keynote address at the three-day international seminar on ‘Aerospace Technologies – Development & Strategies', being held as part of Aero India 2003, Krishnaswamy said Indian industry should focus on the windows of opportunities opening up due to globalisation and liberalisation.
"We need to emulate global standards in aviation infrastructure, efficiency, and safety. Indigenous capabilities need to support the growth of the nascent private industry in the sub-continent by leveraging the resources of our military and civilian sectors," Krishnaswamy said.
Giving an overview of the Indian aviation industry over the decades, the IAF chief told about 900 delegates that there was a need to change the perception of the people about investing in the capital-intensive industry.
"The drivers of growth will be guided by public perception and demand by the users in the military and civilian sectors. Cost and quality will determine the competitiveness of Indian industry in the global aerospace market. We should work towards self-sustenance in the aviation sector by greater investments in R&D and product development, " Krishnaswamy said.
In view of the cost advantage India enjoys, he advised Indian firms to enter into partnerships with global firms for transfer of technology and to be able to access the latest technology.