The LCA's great engine dilemma...! - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 28 November 2009

The LCA's great engine dilemma...!

I've posted an update on the competition for selecting the LCA's new engine. But are there other options... besides the Eurojet EJ200 and General Electric's F-414?

If you have a view, post it. Let your voices carry to those who make the decisions.


  1. Col Shukla,
    have we explored RD33 option for LCA? I think it should be explored and would work just fine in respect to thrust.


  2. General Electric F110

  3. "RD-33MK variant with the bottom gear placement and a thrust vectoring nozzle (RD-133). Can be upgraded up to 10 t (98 kN) thrust in near future without changing the engine core. The Russian obligation to not sell TVN for China can be obtained, so the advantage of Tejas mk.2 engine (if chosen) can be visible and persuasive for public. The KLIVT all aspect TVN can be especially worth for the carrier based Tejas' variant now actively developed by HAL. The 8.3 t RD-33 ser.3 variant of the engine is already licensioned and ToTed in India, so only a minimal addition will be needed for RD-33MK production in India."

    If RD-33MK chosen as a transitional engine for Tejas LCA (till Kavery ready), it's would be logically to use the Russian expertize for accelerated integration it into the redesigned LCA airframe. In most successful scenario we can reckon even a joint venture for accelerated LCA export for third countries with the Russian engine. This could have the framework of Brahmos program, when one side gives its almost ready project for joint revision and export, but keeping independence in domestic production.

  4. Could you post a link to the updated article please.


  5. not really, the rd-33 and co is the only one in the same performance bracket but it's an old design with little chance of further development.

    it's current thrust levels are not enough for LCA of the future.

  6. GE-F110 which is powering F16IN can be evaluated.

    Also F16IN is in race for MRCA

  7. well the Snecma M-88 is under powered and the RD-33 is not as reliable as the GE F414 plus i am against going for Russian junk on the LCA. As it is more than 1/2 of our russian BVR missiles like r-77, r-27s, KH-31a/p are useless because they all malfunction well before shelf life. now if we go for the mig-35 for the MRCA we'll have to end up spending buying more Russian missiles which were suppossed to be working in the first place, their stuff is not realiable plus they have no control over their supply chain which is why china has copied everything Russian and directly threatens us. I'd rather we go for proven US systems. EU stuff is not reliable as well the Sea Eagle, the Issy Harpy, Delilah also have problems with reliability. EJ2000is also useless, fact is, it can never be as rugged or as safe as the GE F 414 which has never failed leading to the crash of a super hornet, its cheaper and has more thrust, besides the EJ doesnt have a navalized version, being EU made will ensure its price doubles for all the works it needs. GE 414 is far more reliable and has better FOB durability. now the only aircraft that can play all the roles required and come at a reasonable price is the Super hornet and if GE 414 is picked the SH wins the MRCA, thus i am very sure we'll get full-tot on the engines for sure, besides chances are since the LCAmk-2 wont be ready before 2013, the GE 414 EPE on offer for the F-18IN goes on the LCA mk-2 as well and due to so many engines needed, we will get full-tot on the engines and related parts, i am sure we'll get tot on the APG-79 and other critical components as well. Super hornet and GE f 414 are safer bets, The russian should be happy we gave them the PAKFA and really try their best to impress us on that one. We buy way too much from Russia, time to go away from them. The french suck, their weapons are very expensive and have no tactical advantage over the US counter parts.

  8. Suppose someone comes with an alternative, will it cost decision makers another 2 years to evaluate the new engine?

  9. Sir please select EJ-200 to avoid future problems and do not use cost basis. Please choose engine based on Strategic view and NOT cost basis only. Any COST MINIMISATION criteria that has some non-quantifiable variables cannot give right answers in numerical terms. The Strategic disadvantage from using GE-414 engine during sanctions/exports cannot be numerically quantified and added to costs.

    a)If the Gripen has a problem in MMRCA because of US engine how will Tejas MK2 have export possibility?

    b)List all countries to whom there is better chance of selling Tejas. Most would be those who don't want US components. Otherwise they could go for f16 or Gripen. Only EJ200 can give that overseas sales to Tejas.

    c)By making Tejas based on GE-414, we are just grounding even more aircrafts in the event of sanctions.

    d)Right now only expensive aircrafts are based on european engines. A low-cost segment Tejas based on EJ200 will not be seen as competitor by europeans and fully supported for exports to countries with low budget.

    e)Eurojet is going to get Thrust Vector Controls soon. This will add to manoueverability of Tejas and compensate for what the design may lack.

    f)Eventually a stealth MCA can be designed around Eurojet 200 if EJ200 is made in India on terms like those for Shakti engine for ALH Dhruv.

  10. I would rather have HAL select the GE-414 engine for Tejas-II. I am sure that there are other options but I am sure that the HAL team looked at the possibilities before starting the wetting process for new engines. Most of us on the blog are not experts and I would hate to second guess the HAL or IAF guys involved with the project.

  11. I think whichever the engine be, even if the thrust is a bit less and there are some minor problems with integration, the vendor should be reliable in the long run and the TOT should be absorbed fully by GTRE, so that it enbles us in developing kaveri to world beating standards.

  12. We should also consider Russian engines. As it is, we have a huge inventory of them. There is scope of joint development of the engine with the russians on the same lines of the brahmos. - prithvi

  13. IMO instead of looking for more options and repeating another MRCA saga, we should stick to one who is most suitable which is either F-414 or EJ200. RD-33MK is just too less on thrust and more modification means more time. And this luxury is not available to LCA. Get it done ASAP which is of paramount importance.

  14. I think if engine up-gradation is necessary then ADA should take aggressive target then just f414 or EJ2000. These engine will certainly improve the performance without major changes in airframe but a full fledged flight testing will be necessary . Instead ADA must modify the airframe to take up a more powerful engine like f110 . it will be like walking on footsteps of Americans however this will result in a much more capable aircraft.

  15. eurojet is a 90kN class engine.RD-33MK for our naval mig29 almost deliver that much thrust. moreover it is already liscenced
    to us for assembly at HAL. Any engine must need a re-engineering on tejas. Why can't we use RD-33MK. it is made for the naval version which will be an advantage for naval tejas.
    I think the same may be the cheapest of all the competitors. And above all the two nations share the best relationship in this manner than any other.They already prooved that.

    Since the tender is for 99+ what is the future of kaveri engine.

  16. Also RD33MK si powering the MIG35
    we can get a common engine onboard a large number of aircrafts which is advantageous if we choose it. And it
    is comming with TVC which is currently not available for other engines.

  17. there is no option at present...

    all current options defeat the true purpose of LCA project

    both EJ200 and F414 makes LCA a remote controled aircraft by others (us or eu) by blocking spares during the actual need.

    an engine should be selected such that in future when kaveri gets ready, it should seemlessly fit into lca mk2 without any modification ...

    inida should develope kaveri,

    it should have its own high altitude tesing facility .. all other facilities and make this kavri to mature...

    by the way one kind suggestion ..

    Please change the name of the engine to Ganga from kaveri...

    kaveri river is a dispute for long time and i think for 13 years or more tamilnadu and karnataka are in court to get final vedict...

    ganga has free flow :) ... just kidding

  18. Ajai ji,the need of the hour is to have an engine which fulfills the requirements of the IAF for LCA.Thereafter the engine development agencies should be asked to gear up fast to develop Kaveri II.For the time being EJ2000 or F414 should be used so that required no. of LCA's can be inducted as soon as possible.

  19. Given the number of Tejas squadrons that India will need and it's export potential to other third world countries, we should start a new engine development program in the right earnest. However, this engine should not be based on the GTRE's Kaveri engine, that would be a bad choice.

    India should look at utilising the engine technology that is being given to HAL as a part of the Su30 ToT by Russia. Since HAL already has got it's hand on the SCB technology and other critical areas needed for jet engine, it makes imminent sense to go this route. Both the economies of scale and single vendor integration will make the program go much faster. If needed HAL can take assistance from the Russians for modifying the existing engines for Tejas.

    This approach has two problems though:

    1) Will HAL be able to setup a true R&D center and culture. Till date it has only license manufactured stuff.

    2) There will be little scope left for bribes and kickbacks. MoD babus under Shri Anthony may not be interested in such a deal.

    Nothing could be worse than buying engines from a foreign country for critical weapons platform like Tejas.

  20. Though I am unsure if it will fit the LCA frame but HAL is already manufacturing AL-31FP turbofans for the MKI. Not only does the dry/reheated thrust exceed the requirement (74.5kN/122.6kN instead of 60kN/90kN)it also has thrust vectoring which will give a huge advantage to the Tejas. Though I am also of the view that coz the GTRE Kaveri only lagged by 8kN/9kN, IAF shud'nt hv made so much fuss abt it. Does 8kN of thrust makes such a difference Ajaiji that LCA wud've been unusable with Kaveri?
    After all they've accepted under performing Russian equipment in the past.

  21. How about going for General Electric F110. It is packed with a mind blowing 125 KN punch. More than enough for LCA in all tranches. It may require a little tweaking on the airframe and air intakes. But, the same tweaking is done earlier as well, when the engine changed from snecma to GE F404.

    If only it is on sale!

  22. Hello Ajai ji,

    I am following your blog for a quite long time and I like it. What are your odds about the Klimov RD33. I mean we are already dealing with this engine in our Migs. How much re-engineering is needed to accommodate this engine?

  23. Hello Ajai ji ,

    I religiously follow your very informative blog daily to see any updates. So my first post over here with comments! I am not an expert so apologies for any mistakes!

    In my view about selecting a new engine for LCA i would prefer Snecma M88-3. There are strong reasons for it. One that it is the power plant of Rafale a strong contender.

    Secondly Snecma is a 'Co-partner' and 'helping' us develop the Kaveri engine. So this way we can have good ToT as the Eco core of M88 is likely to be used for Kaveri engine. This way we can boost our own indegenious Kaveri engine too by learning to licence build M88-3 engine.

    We can deal with just one supplier ie Snecma and we can have some commonalities with LCA (M88-3 if selected) and MCA (Kaveri engine)as both will incorporate French technology. Also important to note is that France is far more reliable supplier than Americans except for few recent hiccups.We would not encounter any future problems like French sanctions should we want to/manage to export LCA to other countries as the French did not impose sanctions on us even after nuclear tests.

  24. 1. It is widely said that F414 is an economic option especially if SH is chosen for MRCA but RD 33(mk II) may not be far away from that status as its mk II version is already being built in India under ToT.It will again be the cheapest of the options. So the final choice should be entirely on vital technical basis (even we must remember Tejas going to be our hedge against huge percentage of foreign jets in the air forces which may face sanctions, so if Tejas has to hedge this then they must not carry a western engine)

  25. Use the Kaveri... if the Kaveri is underpowered, so what? How much does it affect the LCA as a fighting platform? A quantitative analysis please.

    I suppose the LCA is not going to be an air superiority fighter. It's most likely going to be an air defence fighter that relies on numbers and avionics to get the better of it's enemies. That being the case, does it absolutely need to have the most powerful engine out there? And isn't this shortcoming reduced by the use of BVR missiles?

    Just a thought...

  26. sir,

    why isn't the saturn AL-31 engine developed by NPO saturn not in contention. it offers far superior thrust than GE 414 or EJ-200. Being a russian engine virtually makes it immune to sanctions as well, which is not with its western counterparts.

  27. Hi Ajai! What about the engine for Rafael? or any Russian engines? Why has ADE not pursued russian engines when testing of Kaveri is already being done with russian help.

    1. Snecma M88 has on 75kn
    2. Snecma M53-P2 has 95KN but weighs 3300 lbs which is much heavier
    3.Pratt and Whitney F100 is much heavier at 3740 lbs.
    4.Volvo RM12 does not have enough thrust at 80kn
    5. RD-93 is out of question not only because of 87 kn thrust but also because it is going to be used by pakistan and china.

    I guess these are only the two engines available on the market.


  28. if you ask me I would recommend that one should not even go for a engine upgrade which will delay the program for 5 years.
    ADA should look reducing the weight by 200-400 kgs. This will make a lot of difference in the thrust to weight ratio. Moreover, even at the present configuration LCA is much better than Mig-21 which it is supposed to replace.
    Manufacture a 100 LCAs at present configuration and put the rest of the effort at developing MCAs.

  29. My view on this matter is simple. If we are going for the Gripen or Super Hornet in the MRCA we should select the GE F414 and if we are going for the Typhoon then EJ 200. We overhaul and make too many engines for our current inventory of fighters so engine commonality among future fighters is desirable.

  30. holy crap engine in dilemma... all my tax money is spent on silly decision.. i guess i wont be seeing Tejas with FOC in my life time

  31. it is about choosing engine for fighter plane not about selecting oranges or apples. so let DRDO\HAL\IAF engineers do their job. Opinions are good but not fruitful in all the scenarios. it is technical issue please donot make a political issue.

  32. India would be better off using the RD-33MK which is the 90 KN version of the RD-33. China/Pak dont have access to this engine at this point. India already has a TOT for the RD-33 & hence can licence the 90 KN engine for an incremental cost.
    The GE engine though technically the best available now is risky due to the strings attached to it.
    The EJ engine is already too expensive - I guess neary 2x that of GE.
    RD-33MK seems to be on par with the EJ engine as far as thrust is concerned. Support & TOT for EJ is also questionable(Look at the hawk AJT).

    Check this out

  33. Since the airframe will have to be modified to take both of these engines, it make perfect sense to broaden our options. So why not choose from
    1. Lyulka Saturn AL-31F or AL-35
    2. Klimov RD-33

    Give us the option of upgrading the latest iterations of these with thrust vectoring and super-cruise.

  34. Ajai,

    Why not Kaveri mk2 ?? Anyways these engines won't come until mid of next decade. India should partner and extend the current Kaveri engine to boost the industries in India.

    Just thinking Optimistically...

  35. Ajai Sir,

    What is sad is how long this whole process of choosing an engine has taken.

    During that time pakis have started prodution of the Chinese JF-17's and would be getting a donation of J-10's worth 1 billion dollars from China.

    I don't think it really matters if there is another engine around. What matters is when these two engines have already been identified then we double up our efforts to find the best fit for us and induct that engine in our fighters at a quick pace.

    Every second counts.

  36. we should pay few millions in illigel channels to hire some experts in UK RR, US GE, Russia NPO ect ect. to iron out issues with Kaveri.

    Why we are not doing that...

    Or we should get help from israel....
    I am not kidding to incude Israel ..
    they are the master choor.. they steel any secret from any one...
    if we pay them

    selecting french offer for Kaveri is like killing the project.. what is the engine without a core..

    Kabini should be recitified .. if that is what they are willing then its good..
    else good by For ECO core...

  37. I still believe going for the EJ200 would be the best choice. Considering that the internal fuel load of LCA Mk-2 would be same as that of Mk-1, a fuel-guzzling engine like F414 would considerably harm LCA's combat radius.

    The EJ200 on it's part is the most efficient of F414, RD-33MK and itself. I agree that it could cost as much as twice as F414 and three times as much as a RD-33, but our priorities would be well based.

    If an M-83ECO rated at around 90 kN would have been available in the Mk-2 timeframe then it would make the contest more interesting.

    Finally, I think that going for EJ200 would offer LCA more export potential while greatly increasing it's combat manoveurability with it's thrust vectoring. At the same time it would be a very efficient engine allowing the Mk-2's range to be around the 2000 km mark. The kickbacks of the deal for our own industry would be considerable due to the fact that Eurojet has already agreed to provide core technologies of EJ200 in helping out Kaveri.

  38. well the RD-33 comes wih TVN but the GE F414 doesnt need a TVN to allow the Super fries to have high aoa stall free performance, TVN increases maintenance and thus increases cost. the F414 on the Super Hornet takes less than 30 minutes to replace and both engines are interchangeable. moreover the super hornet is now being tested with biofuels making it the only engine that can burn bio fuels allowing for less dependence on petroleum based fuels. Refineries are always crucial targets for our enemies. Burning bio fuels also makes it a less polluting jet which is nice to have. The fact is the LCA engine and mrca aircraft choice will mostly be the same hence the EF tranche 3 and the Super fries will be top contenders, either aircraft is good but Super hornet takes the overall lead with added abilities like awacs and playing tanker roles (not only buddy refueling but it can transfer fuel to a lot of aircraft), its also pretty good in its basic F-18IN and its hihg production rate can ensure we have the first aircraft by end 2013.

  39. The engine that is the most fuel efficient must be choosen. Also the a better version of the present Kaveri need to be built to ensure that the future engine needs of the Indian aerospace industry is met.

  40. Most of the indian defence projects are suffering delays including lca. Most of them has the problem of being overweight either that is kaveri engine or lca itself.LCA, KAVERI ENGINE, ARJUN TANK, LCH almost all have the same problem. Don't u think there is some serious problem with indian metallurgy research which is unable to develop materials with required properties for specific needs. KAVERI ENGINE can produce more thrust with same weight if working temperature and pressure in the combustion chamber is high but it cannot be done untill the material from which the combustion chamber and other parts of engine (coming in contact with high temperature and pressure exhaust gases) is capable enough to withstand such high temperatures and pressures. So there is some serious problem with material research which if worked on can solve many problems of indian defence development.

  41. The LCA mk-2 will have changes in air intakes and its might have slightly bigger wings because i do remember seeing a report where IAf wanted to be able to carry more weapons on the LCA, it might get two extra wing stations and the wing might be larger allowing it to carry more fuel. the fuesalage will be bigger as well. GE has a lot of experience working on the LCA, the GE engine is only a 100 kgs more heavy and already allows the Gripen IN to supercruise, The GE F414 will allow the LCA mk-2 to supercruise as well and since its most likely will be lighter than the new Gripen, it will supercruise even faster. The GE F414 is a natural evolution on the LCA. On the matter of exports, the LCA is far from being exported, so far its not even cleared for export. Kaveri k-9 engine already has a standard home made con-di nozzel and EJ-200 coming with TVC is no unique feature because work is already underway to develope a home made MATV for the LCA. EJ needs further work on being navalized which could take another few years, this will certainly increase the cost per engine by atleast 3 times that of the GE and could delay the entire process even more. GE's F414 will readily deliver enough thrust, stall free flight ops and very good speed.

    In terms of 120KN+ kaveri, i think we need to work on the engine all by ourselves and have a crack at engine tech. all by ourselves, this will take longer by we'll know what we are doing and we can make it to our needs and implement during MLU of the tejas mk-2. eitherway a working 120kn+ Kaveri engine is a must for twin-engined MCA being designed right now. If provided adequate funding and relentless work for the next 5 years, i think we can develop a state of the art home made 120KN+ Kaveri all by ourselves, i'rather the MCA be completly made in India with no imports or JV developed tech. Besides since now the IN too is looking for carrier borne aircraft, the most likely winner will be the Superhornet and the GE f414 because it can carry more weapons than the mig-35/29 is reasonably priced and provides gr8 interoperability with P-8. i really doubt the IAf will go for EJ on LCA, since as it seem price will decide with winner. The RD-33 is not even in the competiton for the LCA' engine so quesion talking about it. Being a US engine makes no difference for the LCA because i really doubt a Ge F414 powered LCA will be exported, by the time the LCa is cleared for export in 2015+, i think we'll have a higher thrust kaveri and we can offer that engine for our potential customers.

  42. first of all I would like to congrats.DRDO HAL and other organisation bur sir do you have any info.about TEJAS(mark-2)

  43. Ajaiji, someone in the media needs to revive focus on the Arjun Tank.

    ....and who better than a Col from the Armoured Corps.

  44. Get the kaveri working, hire a bunch of smart engineers, show the world that we are not dumb, corrupt, and inefficient.
    I can say all that, but hey we all know whats going to happen :)

  45. Firstly, use EJ200 with a condition that they help India develop Kaveri into a reliable mature engine for future. Buying say 200xEJ200s (along with a accelerated LCA production) over say 4 years is a lot and we can arm wrestle the europeans into helping us. Else we would never get technology and would be stuck to buying strategic equipment from abroad forever.

    Secondly, we have to open a competing research organization for GTRE and force competition to GTRE. Competition always breeds good results. Every research organization needs competition for motivation and a sense of achievement.

    Thirdly, anyone delaying strategic programs in India for personal or organizational gains should be charged with TREASON. Treason is a serious offence, but is justified in the case that INDIAN PEOPLE might get killed as result of such selfish decisions or actions on strategic programs.

  46. Bottom line is that,if any engine is choosen for time being ,it should be choosen such a way that It is not American and dont carry any american components.

    So far no NATO country won any war with american weapons.
    Except Israel.

    Americans can never ever be trusted.I rather put my money on a dog instead of American.

    Since french were always after money, they will eat shit for money.
    If we have more money, then buy M88
    And russians are the best IMHO afterall
    Its a trusted friendship.
    Get that damn RD-33MKI or AL31F and modify Tejas for the 1st 2 squads.And in the mean time develop our engine and perfect it.

  47. Hi Ajai

    A kind request, please take this to the GTRE people. There's been news lately of testing the kaveri on lca. may be they should first test it in a twin engine f|ghter say mig-29 as kaveri in its current configuration has almost same if not less thrust o/p as an rd-33. heaven forbid if anything bad were to happen to lca(coz of kaveri), it would be major set back to the program :( ....


  48. What are the pigs in RAW doing, Kick their butts and tell them stop hogging on our tax money and to go and steal the finest engine design's from somewhere, like how the mossad did.

  49. i think that we must prefer for indian Kaveri mk2 for true indian lca.

  50. I would recommend Kaveri .i read somewhere that Kaveri sent to russia for high altitude will be ready for next year.we can make lca's minimum number of our reqirment with this version of Kaveri,like 100-120for replacement of mig21.this version of lca better then mig21.after it we can go for Kaveri mk2 for lca mk2

  51. india is f*&^& screwed... i give it just about a decade more before the chinese roll us into some veggie dumplings are have us for snack with their won ton soups.

    we are nation with no leader, no vision , no ambition , no dream.. we are fu*(( beyond our wildest dreams...

    what a sad state of affairs.

  52. It is my understanding that there are 3 main criteria’s for selection of Tejas engine. They are size, thrust and weight. IAF/DRDO wants a 90kn thrust /reheat engine also weight is a big issue and it should fit into the engine hole. So, anything less than this will not do. If either of them is not satisfied that engine can’t be used.
    Keep in mind than the engine is meant for a LIGHT aircraft we just can’t put a Saturn engine on LCA because its too heavy and too big, maybe we can put it on MCA.
    So if we look at all the suggestions that have been made:
    1. RD33 – 81, less thrust than required
    2. EJ200 – 90, 989 – Just right but expensive
    3. F414 - 98, --- - Excellent thrust but comes with Amirkhans strings attached to it
    4. F110 – too heavy
    5. AL-51 FP – too heavy meant for bigger AC
    6. Snecma 88 – 75kn thrust is less than required
    7. Snecma M53 p2 – Too heavy
    8. F100 – too heavy
    9. Kaveri - 81kn thrust is less, 1100 kg weight is heavy
    10. F404 - uprated one still has less thrust, heavier weight and will be used on the first 40?
    So, this brings us back to square 1 which is that F414 and EJ200 have been shortlisted and its a matter of deciding between the 2. My choice is EJ200 we should avoid American equipment whenever we can because there is no way that when we are in a confrontation with Pakistan or even with China for that matter that they would help us with the engines (if we need parts, new engines, e.t.c) in any way, shape or form. Look at what they did with Paki F-16’ during Kargil. Their whole philosophy is about behind creating poodle states that they can exploit for their own purposes. Compared to them countries like Russia are now viewing us as equals and as a result of that we are entering into joint ventures with them, same goes for Israel and now Sweden to some extent that is if we can buy the Gripen. Buying the Gripen would allow us to enter into joint ventures with them and they might even be interested in working on MCA.

  53. Ah Col Shukla, I see you are testing the Infinite Monkey Theorem ( :D

    Good luck with that.

  54. after looking at the su-30mki crash...well the Ruskis seem a less reliable source than ever before, second crash this year, their BVR missiles in our inventory dont work. The US so far indeed certain restrictions but once EUMA and other agreements are concluded i am sure the US will open up its arsenal for us more. As for the concerns of strings besides annual inspections there seems to be no problems related to strings. for any US vendor to win they will have to give full-tot on crucial things like radars, engines,etc. No knowing that by 2015 Indo-Us trade will surpass over 150 billion, there is no way they can put sanctions on us, matter of fact i am sure we are not too far away from joining UN permanent security council and the competitive nature of these deals will ensure they give us what we want with least amount of strings. China has an aggressive posture towards the US because China holds US debt and PAk well is US tax payer burden. This gives them an incentive that in case of hostilities they can both be wped out courtesy of the US because hey who wants to pay back huge chucks of debt and who wants to keep feeding the beggar all the time. US and India are pure democracies and Russia well i am don't trust their junk anymore. The fact is Russia is a nasty snake too because they have no control on their tech and any nut job can copy it and rumors are circulating that the Chinese may have copied enough Russian tech to build their own 5th gen fighter. So screw Russia too. Besides the MOD doesn't think like we do, they want fire power at a reasonable price and TOT. Besides the MRCA has a 99% chance of going to the US as well simply because they will impress in fire trials and sadly the mig is under gunned, the Rafale, EF, Gripen all deploy US weapons and most of the really new advanced weapons are not deployed on them. EU weapons are very expensive and even Issy weapons have had complains of being duds. US remains the only untried supplier and chances are they will take this baby home. same with the LCA engine, GE will win this deal simply because its easier and has a longer working relationship with LCA, has a higher thrust engine and there have been no hiccups on the current engine deployed on the LCA. EJ needs a lot of development work and will cost at least 3 -4 times more than the GE by the time its ready. moreover the US cant do jack because they are slowly waking up to India's need for strategic autonomy and power. dont be surprised if the Super hornet or the SV come with full-tot. Besides all this talk about US being un-reliable is useless, both our nations being democratic and with many Indian living in the US, the day of sanctions or heavy strings against us are gone. so lets stop bickering and the Govt, MOD worry about the strings etc. let the best all rounder win. all our bickering about strings, consequences etc. are useless and its none of our concern. The decision should be performance driven.

  55. hi ajai sir

    all I can say is that v shuld go 4r a engine that will fill in with the MRCA as well as LCA.

    This means the enhanced GE 414 version being offered is the best bet.

    V should go for 40 ready and most probably 210 in no. built in India is what we need.

  56. Hi Vijay and everybody else,

    Really appreciate the quick list of ten possible engines and their main drawbacks.

    Not to be pedantic, but you missed out the Lyulka Saturn AL-31 F. Which is used on the Su-30 MKI, if I am not mistaken ?

    I am also told there are versions of the same that supports TVC and super-cruise. And those are options worth considering, even if it means a complete reworking of the LCA's software.

    Or, am I missing something here ? Perhaps, Rambha's engine is too big for our little birdie ?

    Maybe too little thrust for its given weight/size ?


  57. One of the main reasons for Tejas programme is Self Reliance. Since Kaveri is not ready, the next best thing, is to have an option in case the programme is hit by Western/US sanctions again.

    Press reports say only EJ200 and F414 are being considered, and RD-33MK is not being considered. I think they should also make a smaller number of Tejas jets with RD-33MK engines, since HAL is already producing the RD-33MK under licence.

    This will ensure the programme is not at the mercy of the West/US.

  58. I was an undergraduate on tour to Bangalore's Engine Factory, HAL, NAL, and the wonderful GTRE more than 30 years ago. India was building turboprop engines for the HS-748, with centrifugal compressors. But GTRE already had this super-advanced 10-stage axial compressor machine (was it called "Kaveri?") It was "almost ready for production" then, and I was so impressed. GTRE seemed like the dream organization to work, unfortunately, most of the experts seemed to be away from their desks. We did not visit the cafeteria to meet them.

    We also visited a functioning Engine Test Cell nearby instead of the cafeteria.

    Today I read that building a High Altitude Test Cell is beyond India's meager resources ("costs 400 crores") but importing foreign engines at hajaar crore each, and depending on the Siberians for access to high-altitude testing is in line with national interests.

    It is sad to see the world's newest "superpower" salivating at the prospect of being "allowed" to buy the technology throwaways from the Americans or the Europeans or the Russians or the Tanzanians, and calling that technological advancement.

    Aren't there enough lamp-posts in New Delhi for all the mantris and bureaucrats who do this kind of "decision-making"?

    Shuklaji, some activism is called for, in impulsive delivery of momentum to the backsides of desi babus and mantris about the traitorous implications of this laziness to India. Thanks!

  59. Manoj, I had a typo, Instead of writing Al-31 FP I wrote Al-51 FP.

    So, I did consider it and its very heavy.

    we need something around the 1000kg mark for the LCA the Saturn is 1570kg. If we want something that heavy it would been reworking the entire plane not just the software that is not a feasible choice.

    As, I said twice before, EJ200 and F414 are both excellent choices. So, lets choose one NOW and get it to production as soon as possible.

    I do not understand our fascination with heavy a gold pleated product. The Tejas with any of those two engines would still be considerably better than the f***ing Mig-21's that we have and would be considerably better than everything in the Paki air force except for their new F-16 (for which we have sukhoi's ). Also most of the Panda's air force is made up of 3rd, 4th gen fighters, It will be better than them too. In any case this air craft will be used more for point defence more than anything else. It won't be flying a 1000 miles to attack targets deep into enemy territory.

    So lets get what we need first instead of waiting for a 6th generation hyper sonic, stealth plane that the Air force wants right now.

  60. i would like lca with a different engine than any of the mmrca candidates. WE DONT WANT ALL THE PLANES TO BE GROUNDED AT THE SAME TIME THOUGH WE FACE A LOGISTICAL NIGHT MARE.possibly i would like Rd-133 it is an upgraded version of Rd-33 with 12t thrust with 5th gen gas generator similar to us ge414EPE @ less cost no problems with export + tvc+ manufactured already , a variant in india + it is a naval engine we will get russian assistance if we try to integrate. i strongly hate american engine bcz america is a spoil sport seeeeeeeeee GRIPPEN .
    i dont want lca to be a puppet in the american hands. if we integrate american engine forget the dream of exporting LCA until KAVERI which is long awaited..We know well about the NONSENSE created BY AMERICAN POLITICIANS for ASSISTANCE FOR NAVAL VERSION, To AIR FORCE VERSION , SEE OBAMAS inclination towards CHINA. THE PROJECT WILL NOT BE RECOVERABLE IF GE GIVES A SHAKE HAND.

  61. i think if we have a parallel engine like Ej-200 or f414 EPE for air force version and Rd-133 for naval version they will think 10 times before doing any nonsense. i think this because rd-can get more thrust, same naval engine across the fleet.we can use it for airforce at the same time and also tvc helps for naval platform very very well.we need one thing we NEEEEEEEED a BIGGER LCA.since lca is small every one is thinking lightly if it GETS 6000 liters of internal fuel + 12 t engine + 12 HARD POINTS then IT WONT BE LCA BUT MCA NO PROBLEM it will be a BEAST.we can export also bcz see china they are exporting to pak also,despite indian pressure.RUSSIAN ENGINE DEAL IS SIMPLY TOO SWEET TO IGNORE UNTIL WE GET KAVERI.... KAVERI KAVERI WHERE R U ................


    al31fptech, rd-33 tech, plus ej200 or i doubt f414 tech, if ej200 then they have promised the tech transfer and assistance for kaveri atleast now we must expect kaveri to demonstrate more thrust gtre guys were telling that they have achieved 1700k without complete sc Now with sc blade tech they can go as much as 1900k i think soon we are going to see some more increase in bypass ratio as the temperature can be increased and increased thrust to weight ratio russians have agreed to provide raw material for the al31fp to produce it at hal , how about asking some extra for kaveri. if ej 200 is choosen for lca mk2 more thrust to weight can be expected since their engine weighs only 989 kgs giving 90+ kn we have to see atleast 8-9 kn on kaveri atleast gradually. they may get some blisk technology also what is sooo called westren stuff and after tests from russia these things will go long long way for kaveri i think if not the whole assistance + indegenous manufacturing + tot all are junk. we live in hope


    i got to know that ej-200 costs 12million $ ooooMG for a 20 million$ plane we have to add more sweetners for the export of this plane to other countries ok any way a good engine.There are unconfirmed reports about ej-200 life. we must mass produce most of its parts in india so that we can bring down its costs to 4-6 million,truly the price of the engine gets decreased but but critical hot end parts will be manufactured from the parent company , if we have to compete with chinese planes we may have to increase range, try n integrate indian , russian, iserali, westren weapons to give very good bang for buck,a lot of infrastructure to supply plane parts, new upgraded electronic suites if tejas to be exported i feel kaveri is a very much must.tejas should go very very long way and i am very much sure with lcamk2 no other plane can give so much modren tech for such a cost. gripen is a very very tough competitor to win any thing but not impossible.

    lca mark 2 should atleast carry 6tons of fuel a 12t thrust engine with all the bells plus 12 hard points kaveri should get up soon last we saw the bypass ratios ratios increased from 1.6-2.2 a very very welcome change but the progress is very slow kmgt worked out from 12mv to 15 mv i heard about sc blade technology transfered from russia to india recently in many posts even russian al31fp engine is indegeneously manufactured with 20% increased thrust so if we select rd-33 mk seawasp engine from russia they are offering 5th gen gas generator +tvc+it is a naval engine + assistance for installation+manufacturing in india i feel the deal is tooooo sweet considering naval mig 29 now procured and mig35 on offer has the same engine.since it is manufactured in india no spares issue its engine life is 4000 hrs and also includes some stealth features.

    after so many days i am feeling ej-200 as a problematic because of hawk case any way i AM BACK TO KAVERI though it seems nonsense for some people.

  63. I STILL FEEL EJ-200 with uprated specs i.e 103 kn+tvc (as seen in some post)is being offered to LCA and they have shown intrest in increasing the fan diameter +++ things for eurojet with indian partnership any way this is going to drivethe cost upwardsbut the great thing is INCREASED RANGE.F414 is much reliable than EJ-200 in ENGINE LIFE.

  64. i FEEL IAF SHOULD order 3 LCA squadrons with the same GE404IN20 and not fuss with LCA ENGINE now.

    i will give the reasons why IAF MUST WAIT for some time with some patiance since hal can produce only 8 planes a year if increased may be 12 at most so three squadrons or less WITHIN 3 years.

    mmrca planes arrive by that time 18 planes directly + 36 su mki by that time if we belive HAL produces only 12/year + most of the mig 29 would have been upgraded by that time+ mirage2000 is in the process of being upgradation + jaguar engine refit is on the way + iaf has tankers now + few mig 21 are upgraded already + mig 27 were upgraded recently. IF WE WANT PLANES EARLY WE CAN ORDER DIRECTLY FROM RUSSIA.
    so by three years we will get 36+36= 72 mki from HAL and RUSSIA.

    IAF has/will have some technical superiority with china/ pak.

    so engine issue now, let lca get its internal fuel upped to 6000 lts + 12 hard points. KAVERI IS BEING TESTED NOW IN RUSSIA without sc and bells. IF THE TESTS ARE A SUCCESS KAVERI is SURELY GOING TO INCREASE THE BYPASS RATIOS WITH SC BLADE TECHNOLOGY plus alterations it may reach more than 100kn since with a bypass of .22 and without sc it is giving 81kn it can reach max bypass ratio of .3 STILL NOT TWEAKED INTO ITS FULL POTENTIAL so more speculation.



    WHY RIGHT NOW IAF is mulling over EJ-200 is if american,russian or kaveri is integrated the combact radius will be very less compared to EJ.

    let them give the LCA design team and GTRE 3 year breathing space by that time hal will produce 30-36 planes so with HIGH INTERNAL FUEL plus THERE WILL BE 12 HARD POINTS THE WEIGHT IS GOING TO INCREASE ANY WAY.

    WE CAN go for either RD-133 or KAVERI or f414EPE.

    (assuming lca is going to carry 4 astra + other optional weapons which will just come to 1500- 1800kg)it is better for point defence and air superiority RIGHT NOW the question is DO WE NEED A HIGH THRUST NOW ONLEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.



  65. Something is not right.

    JAS Gripen which weighs at 6500kg can do mach 2.0 using Volvo Aero RM12 (F404J) at 80kN.

    Tejas LCA weighs less at 5500kg and says F404-GE-IN20 83kN) is underpowered?

    Hope Ajaiji can find out who is telling truth. Is JAS Gripen lying about their performance or maybe Tejas LCA weighs much more than 5500kg?

  66. Hmm. There have been a few suggestions regarding the use of GW F110 or AL31F in the Tejas, citing their (vastly) superior power output. Wishful thinking! :-)

    Please note however, that the dimensions and weight alone preclude their use in what was originally conceived as a light fighter. To try and redesign the Tejas to accommodate these large powerplants would effectively result in a complete redesign of the aircraft (which may take another 20 years!).

    Just to illustrate, the current weight of the Kaveri is about 1100 kg (design goal is about 950 kg). The AL31F weighs in ata hefty 1570 kg and the GE F110 at a whopping 1778 to 1996 kg. The length of the Kaveri engine is 3490 mm as compared to the AL31F with 4990 mm and the and GE F110 with lengths between 4630 - 5900 mm. The engine diameter of the Kaveri is also much smaller at 910 mm vs the AL31F (905 mm inlet; 1280 mm maximum external) and GE F110 (1180 mm).

    The most logical choices would be to ensure that the Kaveri can be worked on to meet design goals
    (provided they do not take too long. Ideally the Kaveri should be 'production ready' within 2 years, though I must confess, I am a bit skeptical about that)

    The next best alternative would be the Eurojet EJ200, which would be an almost perfect fit (dimensions and weight wise). It also meets the IAF's power requirements (90 KN). It can be fitted with thrust-vectoring (not available with GW F414) and is also a newer generation engine as compared to the GE F414 and hence can be developed to provide more thrust in the future.

    If not the above, then of course the GE F414 would serve the purpose.

    However, availability of the above engines and spares for them during times of conflict may be cause for concern. This could hamper the operational readiness of the IAF and severely compromise their ability to defend India.

    The Klimov RD-33MK might be a good option, but may require greater redesign of the Tejas airframe as compared to the EJ200 and F414. Nevertheless, it might be considered.

    And of course, last but not least, continue with the F404 and modify the tactics and/or role of the aircraft around the available power. I would still consider this option if it meant that I could field greater numbers of aircraft during a conflict. Whatever the technology, numbers still matter in any conflict.

  67. If this news like GTX Kaveri engines has been sucessfully tested then i feel that india have MIG 25 of Russian origin its engines is more powerful then F-16 can be utillised for future experiments india can lurn from its technolgy.This engines can be overhaulled in DRDO laboratory for future course of action.Its derivative can be produced in sort spen of time.MIG 25 engines is comperable to black of U.S Air force.


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