In a significant development, DRDO's Kaveri Dry Engine has successfully completed high altitude trials at a Russian facility, this is a milestone in engine development program reported Reach Defence.

It was tested at various conditions of pressure, Mach and thrust,
Simulated - 46kN
Achieved - 48.5 kN

India’s dependence on Russia for conducting simulated high altitude tests and flight test bed testing was causing delays to the flight-testing of the Kaveri dry engine. A derivative of the indigenous Kaveri military gas turbine aero engine that has been under development at the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO’s) Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) since 1989, the Kaveri dry engine is meant to power India’s first stealth, unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), the Ghatak.

In March 2022 it was reported that GTRE was ready with the engine for its eagerly awaited simulated high altitude tests. Designers working on the Kaveri Dry engine explained that simulated tests basically simulate high altitude conditions on the ground. GTRE positioned the engine in the flying test bed (FTB), which is a modified Ilyushin (Il)-76 fixed-wing, four-engine turbofan aircraft. The Kaveri Dry engine will replace one of the Il-76's four engines in the FTB.

GTRE is hoping to complete all tests by 2024-25 and commence limited series production by 2025-26. The production agency is likely to be the public sector aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

India, which hopes to join the handful of global aviation majors who have mastered gas turbine aero engine technology, does not even possess a fully functional wind tunnel facility that is essential to study aerodynamic characteristics. Such a facility can simulate and test an engine designed to work at 40,000 to 50,000 feet above the ground and will give designers the freedom to scale up or down, test and validate the hundreds of components.

Scientists at DRDO confessed that the lack of such a facility means that an engine being indigenously designed has to be carted to Russia (Gromov Flight Research Institute) or elsewhere, making it a time-consuming process.