Built for air force, Kaveri engine chosen by navy - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 7 September 2009

Built for air force, Kaveri engine chosen by navy

Photo: The Kaveri Marine Gas Turbine (KMGT) on a test-bed at a naval facility in Visakhapatnam

by Ajai Shukla
GTRE, Bangalore
Business Standard, 8th Sept 09

The indigenous Kaveri aircraft engine, soon to make its debut flight, lacks the muscle needed by India’s Tejas light combat aircraft, which the engine was designed to power. In its present form, the Kaveri will never power a modern fighter.

But the engine’s technology --- developed by the Defence R&D Organisation, over two decades, at a cost of Rs 3000 crores --- will not be wasted. The Indian Navy is snapping up the Kaveri for powering its growing fleet of warships.

Business Standard has learnt that the navy has officially informed the Gas Turbine and Research Establishment (the DRDO laboratory that developed the Kaveri) that naval warships will needs 40 Kaveri Marine Gas Turbines (KMGTs) over the next 15 years.

In an important signal of its support, the navy has agreed to fund 25% of the cost of the KMGT project.

GTRE has developed the marine Kaveri by modifying the aero engine with a shaft, through which power can be delivered to a propeller. The navy has extensively tested these engines at Visakhapatnam and found that the marine Kaveri can deliver 12 Megawatts (16,000 Horsepower) of propulsion power.

Typically warships run on regular diesel engines; gas turbines (such as the Kaveri) are added on to provide “boost power”, needed for manoeuvring in battle. Contemporary gas turbines, such as the General Electric LM2500, provide India’s latest 5000-tonne Shivalik class frigates with 22 MW of boost. The Kaveri’s more modest 12 MW is sufficient only for smaller warships.

While the marine Kaveri’s basic performance has been established (even the PM has seen a demonstration in Visakhapatnam), the GTRE Director, Dr Mohana Rao, is not yet satisfied with the basic design.

“So far, the KMGT is just a spin-off from the aero version”, Rao told Business Standard in Bangalore. “I want to give the navy an engine with far greater endurance. An aero engine’s life is just 3000 hours; a marine engine’s life should be 30,000 hours. I must physically test the KMGT for at least 15,000 hours.”

GTRE is going ahead with developing 3-4 test engines and beginning trials within three years. The trials will be conducted in a marine environment, which will include high humidity, and prolonged exposure to salt.

“We plan to begin delivery in about 6 years”, says the GTRE Director, “We hope to keep the cost below Rs 25-30 crores, which is considerably cheaper than buying imported gas turbines.”

Earlier this year, the US State Department had stopped General Electric from fitting its LM-2500 turbines on the INS Shivalik, apparently because GE had not obtained proper permissions from the US government.

Other than the 40 KMGTs, the Indian Navy has also issued a letter, on 6th April 09, laying out a requirement for 42 Gas Turbine Generators, or GTGs. These are de-rated versions of the marine Kaveri, which will be used for generating electrical power on warships. Each GTG generates 1.2 Megawatts of power.

The Indian Navy, an enthusiastic proponent of indigenisation, proposes to replace the diesel generators fitted on older warships with the Kaveri GTG. If it performs well over a period of time, the new-generation warships will also get electrical power from the Kaveri GTG.

Currently, only the Rajput and Delhi class of destroyers use gas turbines for power generation.


  1. Great achievement if it works.

    Looks like China uses engines made in France.

  2. wow.. 40 + 40 turbines.. its a great start finally.

  3. Even though it cannot be used on Shivalik type of frigates at the moment, it can be used in smaller vessels, especially corvettes and patrol ships that Indian Navy will be inducting in large numbers. Wishing the IN all the best. Since IN is supporting DRDO in this case, DRDO must provide the best stuff in the least time to the IN and strengthen the trust between IN and DRDO. All the best to DRDO.

  4. Best of luck to GTRE and IN for this project. Would be a good morale booster.

  5. Kudos to the IN once again.

    IA & IAF ---> Learn from IN, learn.

  6. Yawn. Ajai you have come back from Blore with PR handouts from GTRE.

  7. It's time when IAF and IA do some self-realisation.Going for phoren maal will do no good.

  8. the time given by MOhan Rao is disappointing, 6 years is far too long.

  9. "the time given by MOhan Rao is disappointing, 6 years is far too long."

    Maybe it is inline with the Navy's construction schedule.

  10. Hello Ajai,

    Thank you for the article, it's good to see the navy is showing interest.
    Should work well. Hope this gives a chance for GTRE to further improvise and develop products better and in a better time frame.

    Sorry, to derail the discussion, but any news on LCH.

  11. I want to give the navy an engine with far greater endurance. An aero engine’s life is just 3000 hours; a marine engine’s life should be 30,000 hours. I must physically test the KMGT for at least 15,000 hours.”
    Ukrainian made gas turbines have 40000 hours of life and 20000 hors of mean time between failure


  12. AK is burning!

    And Andrew, your guaranteed numbers, ask Navy how much is guaranteed and how much is "hawa main".

  13. AK's tail is on fire !

    he has to stop all these or his foreign handler will stop his chai-pani !

  14. These Navy guys should be awarded Bharat Ratna

  15. so drdo developed "jahaj" engine .

    But it will not be fitted on Airforce "jahaj" but Navy "jahaj".

  16. but which "jahaj" exactly?

  17. "It's time when IAF and IA do some self-realisation.Going for phoren maal will do no good."

    Agreed, the IN is doing a good job of helping indegenisation, that is because it can afford to. The IN is not (yet) even on the radar of the principal enemies of India. Neither China nor Pakistan are as yet a viable challenge to the IN. Things are entirely different with the IA and the IAF which face front line equipment of the adversaries and can not afford to dawdle along with the DRDO in the name of pseudo nationalism and patriotism. However in another 2-3 years things will change and if the DRDO does not get its act togather by then, it will be a very brave Naval chief indeed who will risk national security to support the DRDO.

  18. p mukiherjee, if that was the reason army won't have accepted an inferior and still problem plagued T-90 and ignored the arjun.

    the real reason is much simpler, army and af had money to afford foreign maal, navy didn't.

    and in a few years navy will make most of its own things, case in point, the ATV.

    but of course people like you will yak yak without knowing the first thing, so no surprises there.

  19. If Marine Kaveri becomes a realty, then its offshoot can be even used for industrial purposes. Gas turbine engine can be used by NTPC for power generation. ONGC uses GT engines of Rolles royes & Solar, maintenance of which are done by HAL.Power generated form these GT's are upto 10 mw, so kaveri can be easily fitted there.

  20. No ship has sunk because of engine failure--now perhaps the DRDO can convince the navy to put the Kaveri on the Naval LCA. That will be an achivement.

  21. to anon 08 September 2009 19:30

    And Andrew, your guaranteed numbers, ask Navy how much is guaranteed and how much is "hawa main".
    ask your mother what was guaranteed and what was "hawa main" she will reveal this that you were born as anonymous and will remain as anonymous and die as anonymous

    and if still don't belive this go to


  22. Great stuff ajaiji, ur series on Kaveri engines is excellent. Any news about LCA??

  23. Shukla Ji,
    thanks for all the articles, anyways any update on the LCA Trainer and naval LCA??????

  24. Ajai ji, you have brought back only controversies from HAL. I was hoping for some news on LCH, Su-30 production rate/schedule. Spare us this never ending saga of LCA and Kaveri.

  25. Andrew why should I have to ask my mother anything? In fact, you should ask your mother about me, believe me child, when i say she would have a lot to say. And if your father is "anonymous", what does that say about Andrew? What would people call Andrew?

    And if you believe all the BS on that link, heres a nice user car I shall sell you along with it, its called the Gorshkov.

  26. @anon at 20:32, the kaveri is already an achievement, given naval orders for it.

    @Ajai Shukla, disregard anon above, most of the public is very interested in LCA and Kaveri.

  27. In this instance, what can IAF learn from the IN?

    1) The IN shared the risk by offering GTRE funds to complete Kaveri. In doing so, they also gave GTRE a better chance to complete Kaveri, SPED UP THE PROCESS, and enabled GTRE to build a better engine. BTW, since IN will benefit from indigenous product, it makes much sense for both to support Kaveri and share the risk. Now GTRE and IN will benefit from kaveri.

    2) Also, IN offered GTRE incentive -a promise to order 40 engine- if GTRE produce Kaveri ON TIME.


  28. Can we get a report on any college programs used by GTRE and Midhani for research into materials and gas turbines? How many MTech/PhDs are these programs producing and are the labs able to hire the students who conduct research for them?

  29. Ajai you are a great marketer.. For sure you have LCA updates for us but you are looking for perfect timing. Considering the articals on

    AJT first

    then karveri to russia

    then Kaveri for navy

    and ... then you are going to give some updates on lca.. come on we cant wait any more..

  30. LOL, what a bunch of gullible fools you are.

    Russia: "Hey India, buy my Gorshkov. Cheap and Russian naval tech is cheap yet comparable with the West."

    Indian Navy: "OK. Let me pay first."

    Russia: "Great, I will use this money to buy French carriers (Mistral)."


    Indian Navy: "wtf...."

    Russia: "Don't worry. We still have great submarines. Here, lease some (Nerpa), buy some. They are comparable to Western tech for lower price."

    Indian Navy: "...OK. Let me pay first as usual."

    Russia: "Great, I will use this money to buy German submarines U-212."

    Indian Navy: "WTF"


    lol, Russians must think Indians are the dumbest people in the world. Here is your best strategic partner selling you junk they won't even use.

    Indian buying mentality:

    1. Agree with Russia to supply naval arms which Russia claims to be equal to West..
    2. Pay more than agreed after Russian fit.
    3. Pay yet more than agreed, and agree to delay for fifth time. Price reaches Western models.
    4. Find out that Russia is using Indian money to buy Western arms for its own use.
    5. ???
    6. Profit!!

    You lot are gullble alright.

  31. This comment may seem a bit out of context here but, does anyone agree that the DRDO, HAL and company are biting more than they can chew.. they already have like a 100 programs on hand..incomplete..since the 80s.. and they want to make more and more.. except maybe be Prithvi and to some extent the Agni..what project seems completed?

  32. why did India also ask for assistance in designing and building nuclear aircraft carrier like they have deal with Brazil case for N-Sub.And buy Rafale fighter
    along with TOT.

  33. TO ANON AT 11 September 2009 02:03

    PEOPLE LIKE YOU JUST sitting there to see IP addresses of others and this is what you deserve "ABUSE"

  34. to AJAI SHUKLA

    if you share IP adresses whoever visits your blog then its shame on you

  35. vincent, are you frustrated that US is not able to buy out India like the UK saudi or pakis ?

    tch, I understand your anguish.

  36. This is gonna be used on Russia origin/philosophy destroyers.starting with reengineered kashin class.

    By this I mean the russian ships have 4 engines producing ~15MW each running in a pack whereas the western destroyers type 45,Horizon etc have 2 25MW class LM2500/WR21 engines.

  37. >>
    PEOPLE LIKE YOU JUST sitting there to see IP addresses of others and this is what you deserve "ABUSE"

    andrew you idiot stop spamming this blog!!!!!!!!

  38. Why you all want to remain on a sinking ship. It'll be cold war battle against China, only this time they'll have western-inspired ships and planes and you'll have old Soviet designs. India is going to get severely owned.

    I quote from a serious commentator to a boasting russian:>>>

    Hey commie, the USSR is dead! You are only building 68 SU-35's in 6 fucking years! Guess what bitch, if full production, 1 F-35 will be produced per day! PAK-FA, it's a big fucking joke. Your economy is shit, and your military is even bigger shit. 125 million people, and dropping everyday! Down to 100 million by 2025. You will never have the money to build a military. Russia is done bitch.

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Hello Mr. Shukla. It is heartening to note that unlike the adamant Army and the Air-Force, the Navy understands when & where opportunity lies.

    It thought "out-of-the-box" and immediately saw an opportunity for the Kaveri to power it's warships. It co-operated with GTRE to quickly test the Kaveri's viability and wasted no time in giving the "go ahead" to the project.

    The central point in the Navy's approach is :-

    1) It keeps in mind operational requirements and the long term goal of indigenization. It simply put 2 and 2 together to decide that Kaveri was the answer. Otherwise, there was nothing to stop the navy from issuing a mega global tender for turbine engines.

    2) There were no "ego" issues with DRDO. This is evident in the quick decision that it took.
    In contrast, the army took "ages" to even decide to purchase the Arjun and hold comparative trials with T-90.

    3) It is pragmatic and does not believe in long drawn-out processes. Unlike the Army, which took 2 years to decide on procuring Akash squadrons and IAF, which took 22 full years to decide to purchase the Hawk trainer and 8 years to decide to purchase the MRCA.

    Clearly, the IAF and IA have many lessons to learn from the Navy.

    Thank you.

  41. Hallo Surz. I hard menshuned famoz jernailist Shiv Aroor ij gay. I got halal boy for him. Plij male at halboy at chimale.com.

  42. vincent, find another place for your pet peeves against russians.

    why don't you try your luck in russia based english language forums ?

    afraid that they will kick your ar$e ? heh heh !

    btw, one serious commentator has this to say to your serious commentator :

    "f*ck off, loser ! learn to speak in a civil language or you will be paid back in the same coin , HA HA ! "

  43. to vincent

    125 million people, and dropping everyday! Down to 100 million by 2025
    मूर्ख बकवास मत कर

    रूस ने भारत की सहायता कितनी बार कि है तो क्या भारत रूस की सहायता नहीं कर सकता

    भारत की १०० करोड़ कब काम आयेंगे,इसीलिए रुस को कोई चिंता नहीं है

    russian economy at least better than indian economy and only 14 crore to support compared to 100 crore in india.

  44. The difference is that Russia is the biggest country in the world. On its border with China is 75% of its military, protecting only 6 million people spread across Siberia. Today it is forcibly closing down northern towns and one-factory towns to move them to the Chinese border, where below it hundreds of hungry Chinese await in the northern rust belt. A city of 100,000 in the Siberian winter takes a billion dollars a month to supply heating. In summer the country teems with mosquitoes and vermin, even in the abandoned one-plant towns that litter the country.

    Russia is desperate about its shrinking population with age expentancy 58. It is going around the world seeking ex-Russians to return, but only 10K plus have. It is losing a million people a year.


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