In a crucial technology development in aircraft engine components, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established a forging technology to produce various stages of high pressure compressor discs from titanium alloy.
“The DRDO has established the near isothermal forging technology to produce all the five stages of high-pressure compressor [HPC] discs out of difficult-to-deform titanium alloy using its unique 2000 metric tonne isothermal forge press,” a DRDO statement said.
“This is a crucial technology for establishing self-reliance in aero engine technology. With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aero engine components,” it stated.
The technology was developed by the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a laboratory of the DRDO in Hyderabad.
The methodology adopted by the DMRL is generic in nature and can be tuned to develop other similar aero engine components, the DRDO stated adding, “The compressor discs produced using this methodology met all the requirements stipulated by the airworthiness agencies for the desired application.”
Accordingly, the technology was certified and letter of technical approval was accorded, the DRDO said and based on the exhaustive component level and performance evaluation test results, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Indian Air Force cleared the components for engine fitment.
To meet the bulk production requirements, the technology has been transferred to Midhani through a licensing agreement and a bulk quantity of 200 numbers of HPC disc forgings pertaining to various compressor stages have been jointly produced and successfully supplied to the HAL, Bengaluru for fitment into Adour engine that powers the Jaguar and Hawk aircraft, the DRDO stated.
In India, the Adour engine is overhauled by the HAL under a licensed manufacturing agreement with the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Stating that in any aero engine, the HPC drum assembly has to be replaced after a specified number of operations or in case of damage, the DRDO added that the annual requirement of these HPC discs is quite large, warranting indigenisation.