Defence Minister AK Antony on the Kaveri engine, replying today to a question in parliament - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 23 February 2011

Defence Minister AK Antony on the Kaveri engine, replying today to a question in parliament

Here is the latest position on the Kaveri engine, straight from the horse's mouth... Defence Minister AK Antony, in parliament today.

Pasted below is the official Press Information Bureau release.



New Delhi: Phalguna 04, 1932
February 23, 2011

So far, nine prototypes of Kaveri engines and 4 prototypes of Kaveri Core (Kabini) engines have been developed. About 1975 hours of testing has been conducted on Kaveri and its Core engines at ground and altitude conditions.

Kaveri engine prototype (K9) has been integrated with IL-76 Aircraft at Gromov Flight Research Institute, Russia. After adequate Engine Ground Runs, taxi trials, the maiden flight test of Kaveri engine with IL-76 Aircraft for over one hour has been successfully completed on 3rd November 2010 followed by 3 more flight tests. These flight tests covered 6 Km altitude and a speed of 0.6 mach.

Kaveri engine development project was sanctioned on 30th March 1989 with a Probable Date of Completion (PDC) of December 1996 and a cost of Rs.382.81 crore. The project cost was revised to Rs.2839.00 crore. Some of the major reasons for time and cost overruns are ab-initio development of engine, lack of skilled manpower in engine manufacturing, enhancement in the scope of project during development, lack of infrastructure for engine manufacture testing and component/system level testing within the country, Flying Test Bed (FTB) trials was not originally included as a milestone in the project, engine and component failure during testing which is inevitable in this kind of projects resulted in changes in design and material, based on various reviews, less priority from foreign manufacturing agencies in view of Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) vis-a-vis the production order quantity from other engine houses and US sanctions imposed during 1998 affected the delivery of critical systems and components.

It is proposed to develop production version Kaveri (K10) engine on co-design & co-development basis with M/s Snecma, France. The technical evaluation for this proposal has been completed. Tender Purchase Committee (TPC) with members from DRDO, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Indian Air Force (IAF), Indian Navy (IN) and Integrated Finance (R&D) is negotiating the commercial aspects.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in written reply to Shri Shri N K Singh in Rajya Sabha today


  1. Thank you very much for yet another high quality article. I like reading your blog over the other Indian-Defence-related blogs out there.

  2. These guys shd codesign and codevelop their pea brain with the tax payer's money that fetch them food.. i know those guys gonna come back asking me how many countries are producing their own these guys make me laugh at times.. thanks for that guys...

  3. @anon@1:33,
    All you probably know is how to laugh. You still do not have answer to the point that how many countries can make an engine by themselves? And because you don't have answer you mock the question itself. There are many countries who are rich enough but can't make it. Go cry in the land where you pay taxes. We know you don't pay it here. If you were, you would be crying at other things like 2G scam, CWG excesses etc and not crucial tech. We have enough hurdles. Keep your pestering rants to yourself. Being just a taxpayer is not enough to teach you what is in your interests.

  4. Designing a modern day jet engine is a difficult proposition.
    We could have taken a collaboration route instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.Remember there was a huge collaborative effort with MBB of Germany on the ALH-DHRUV project.Today it is a success.
    One of the reasons of our failure is the pernicious system of age based seniority in all DRDO labs. Directors at GTRE do not last long.
    The moment you jack up a scientist as Director his skills are gone in flying to Delhi every week,appeasing the unions and countless promotion interviews. No time for project monitoring or appraisal.
    Costs are deliberately under projected so as to secure approvaland later jacked up.
    Study all project histories, LCA,ALH, they are nearly 10 to 15 times the initial cost estimates.
    The Raksha Mantri is just reading out bland staements authored by the DRDO mandarins who are past masters at camouflaging failure.

  5. It just made me to laugh at the above post. I think, he got a noble prize for "something" that makes him large enough to critize, that way. He does not consider many things, he thinks it's a childs play. Well, what to say?

  6. FIrstly for Mr. Pogula,
    For your information, this particular article was not written by Col (Rtd). Shukla. He just quoted Def Minister's reply to the question on Kaveri in parliament. I do agree that most of the articles by Col (Rtd). Shukla, are really good, if not all. So Please read properly and then comment instead of writing "yet another high quality article." {sic}

    Secondly, I have a question for Col (Rtd) Shukla. Def Minister quoted "These flight tests covered 6 Km altitude and a speed of 0.6 mach." If we compare this with other fighter engines, where does Kaveri stand? If I remember correctly, IAF has been complaining that Kaveri power was not enough (initially 83 N or less and want a 90+N), and want a more powerful engine. Is IAF happy with the present Kaveri engine and its power?

    Thank you, Please do reply whether you know or not.

  7. Looking in to the prevalent technological development scenario ever, it was never easy to develop modern engines like Kaveri, at least by India. So the results have been mixed up.

    Once they succeed in developing Kaveri on the lines of Arjun and Tejas, then things will get glorified in the favor of India and at-least Indian taxpayers will reduce gloating over such matter.

  8. Ajai sir any update on Arjun mk II?

  9. Nair (Anonymous 23:18):

    The flight tests being conducted in Moscow are being done on an engine that everyone acknowledges --- including GTRE --- does not meet the bill for the Tejas. Its rated power, which is in the 60-70 KN range, is not enough for a modern fighter.

    But the flight tests are needed to establish the testing data for that engine.

    Now, in partnership with Snecma, GTRE plans to learn how to design the difficult part of the engine: the hot core. Whether this will be a true design partnership, or whether Snecma will merely pass on a fully-designed hot core... that is something that we will have to wait and see.

    In response to a question from me at Aero India 2011, Dr VK Saraswat, the DRDO chief, insisted that Snecma would pass on key technologies, including that of designing and fabricating single crystal blades (SCBs).

    Let us see. Time will tell.

  10. Wow! Designing and fabricating single crystal blades... that has to be a great news and a glorious feat when accomplished.

  11. Just curious
    When this Snecma process will start and when it will end ?
    Sorry in advance if I miss something

  12. We must expedite the trials of MARINE KAVERI engine which is already a success. We must develop a bigger engine with output around 20MW to 25MW. Such gas turbines can be used for power generation also. Marine Kaveri engines will make our Navy very strong.

  13. @ Devasis
    Cost escalation. The media somehow loves to do this calculation (Final Cost spent on project)/(Intial tranche of funding)= number of times cost has escalated.
    Lets dig deep into those numbers shall we :) all costs in $
    In case of the LCA, total expenditure (highest reported) is about 3.8bil i.e a 3000% increase, which means the original development cost was 3.8bil/30 =126.67 mil...which is roughly the cost of
    1> 2.6 Gripen NG aircraft(i know 2.6 aircrafts doesnt make sense)..not the development cost but the 2 cost of buying two things that will fly
    2>1.17 Eurofighter Typhoon

    Now one may argue that comparison of Tejas and EF/Gripen is not quite correct, but i would safely assume that anyone would agree that the development cost of Tejas would be more that the fly away price of 3 gripen aircraft.

  14. any news on when they plan to sign the contract and for what application? It doesn't seem very clear if the application is the Tejas MK2 or the AMCA.
    in any case without the collaboration there will never be an operational indian engine ...people who think otherwise haven't got the faintest idea of what it takes to design, develop and produce a modern engine.

  15. Hi,

    Any updates on the signing of the Kaveri collaboration. Do you know if it is on still and what timeline is ? Or what is holding it up?
    Everybody is going nuts over the MMRCA thing that will take ages to do and will end with american arm-twisting, but strangely silent on the Kaveri deal that would really push indian technology forward and help us on the road to strategic independance....

  16. Where does the Kaveri engine stand compared to the other aircrafts.. When will India be a country to make indigenous defence components without the technological aid of other developed countries. Are we still independent to develop our defence systems by our own..


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