GTRE’s Dry Kaveri Engine development is nearing completion

GTRE’s Dry Kaveri Engine development is nearing completion

The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), through its Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), has set out on an ambitious mission to create the Dry Kaveri engine by the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026. The 46kN thrust of the Dry Kaveri engine is extremely promising for India’s aviation and defense industries. A crucial step in the development of the engine will be reached when GTRE incorporates it onto a platform for in-flight testing.

In September 2022, the DRDO and Godrej Aerospace agreed on a crucial agreement that will enable the production of eight Kaveri engines, taking a big step toward accomplishing this vision. As more trials are made possible by these engines, the GTRE team will be able to improve and optimize the engine’s performance before the anticipated conclusion of all tests by 2025.

Multiple tests were carried out in India earlier this year to verify the engine’s combustion stability, indicating significant advancement in the development process. The Kaveri engine reportedly underwent more high-altitude tests in February 2023 at Russia’s Baranov Central Institute of Aviation Motor Development, enhancing the engine’s credentials.

In tackling fundamental issues, such as noise concerns, that had previously presented difficulties, GTRE has made outstanding progress. Two of the older Kaveri engines have been used in the lab to test upgrades and adjustments. With essential improvements now successfully executed, the Dry Kaveri engine is primed to reach new heights in performance and efficiency.

The Dry Kaveri engine prototypes will be produced by Godrej Aerospace, a major project partner. On the Russian Ilyushin Il-76 testbed, these prototypes will likely undergo additional in-flight evaluations next year. To verify the engine’s dependability and airworthiness, additional ground-based testing for extended operations is planned.

The Dry Kaveri engine will qualify for airworthy certification by Indian authorities if it passes both in-flight and ground-based testing criteria satisfactorily. The engine’s use in actual aircraft depends on this certification. To significantly improve India’s domestic defense capabilities, the Dry Kaveri engine is planned to power either older LCA-Tejas LSP aircraft or the Prototype of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) now under development.

By – Rajendra SIngla, PhD, New Delhi