Kabini core engine tested in Russia

Ravi Sharma

BANGALORE: A team from the Bangalore-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) has just returned after taking Kabini — the core of India’s indigenous combat aircraft engine endeavour, the much delayed Kaveri engine — for high altitude testing at the Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM) in Moscow. The team headed by the GTRE’s Director T. Mohan Rao generated data to allow a study of the characteristics of the Kabini’s components.

This is the second time that Kabini, which constitutes the crucial hot end section of the Kaveri engine (primarily the engine’s high pressure compressor, high pressure turbine and high pressure combustor), has been taken to Moscow. Sources said the GTRE had made many modifications to the Kabini since it was last tested at Moscow. “These modifications and the parts have to be proved in testing before they are transferred on to the Kaveri engine.”

Kabini has been left behind at the CIAM for a series of further trials, including “as and when GTRE can come up with it,” testing with an improved blade. The Kaveri engine will later be flown to Russia for integration with the Kabini and flying bed tests. The Kaveri, meant to power India’s Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, has been under development for two decades at a cost of over Rs. 1,500 crore, and will be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The process to identify a partner who will co-develop and co-produce the Kaveri along with the GTRE has been further delayed. The Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) which is evaluating as to who between France’s Snecma Moteurs and Russia’s NPO Saturn should partner the GTRE has just returned after visits to Russia and France.

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