The Aero engine developed by DRDO has not achieved the required thrust to power Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)

NEW DELHI: The government has spent Rs 2,101 crore so far on the development of the indigenous Kaveri Engine, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha in 2017.

The project for development of Kaveri Engine was sanctioned in 1989 with probable date of completion of 1996, which was extended to 2009. Government has further approved its continuation within the cost ceiling.

The engine developed by DRDO has not achieved the required thrust to power Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Therefore, it has been decided to use Kaveri derivative engine ("dry" engine) without after burner for powering Indian Unmanned Combat Aircraft, Parrikar said.

The following are some of the major reasons for non-completion of project within the time-schedule, as cited by Parrikar in his written reply: 

1) Technological difficulties faced during development due to complexities of engine system.
2) Non-availability of raw materials/critical components
3) Lack of infrastructure/manufacturing/test facilities within the country
4) Non-availability of skilled/technical manpower in the field of Aero-engine technology
5) Increase in scope during development 

Although there has been delay in development of Aero-engine due to reasons stated above, DRDO for the first time ventured to initiate development of Aero-engine technology, which only few developed countries in the world possess.

The following are some of the major milestones achieved in this program: 

> Successful completion of 73 hours High Altitude testing and 57 hours trial on Flying Test Bed have proved level of technological capability and maturity.
> Full Authority Digital Engine Control System has been designed, developed and qualified indigenously.
> Twelve materials have been indigenously developed and type certified.
> Total of 9 Kaveri prototypes and 4 Kaveri Core Engine prototypes have been developed and accumulated more than 2550 hours of engine testing.
> Kaveri Engine was integrated with IL-76 Aircraft and flight tested.
> Tacit knowledge acquired by the scientists are being applied in aerospace technology and other disciplines.