SOURCE: RAVI PAI / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
At recently concluded Aero India 2019, It was more or less confirmed, quietly by everyone at GTRE Stall, that plans to develop a new engine based on Kaveri engine is more or less over and India will not be pursuing co-development offer from France anymore since it won’t be indigenous enough for the forces to consider it over existing engines imported from abroad for local LCA-Tejas, MCF, and AMCA program .
Easy availability of military grade aircraft engines practically from any corner of the world for Indian military means, there is no urgent push for local engine developments in the country even though the country is witnessing scaling up of local fighter aircraft projects like Tejas Mk1A, MCF, Naval-Mk2, and AMCA which will have requirements of over 3000 engines for next 40 years, which will make up nearly 50% of the future aircraft fleet of the Indian Airforce.
Government is not interested, nor is airforce and Navy then it has become very difficult for the scientific community in the country which has for the last thirty years have fumbled with low budgets and lack of support to develop Kaveri engine which has failed to meet its desired thrust requirements and might never enter production or serve onboard any aircrafts due to prolong negligence from all sections of the key players in the Arms industry.
Ex-HAL employees explained to me that, India needs not only ground facilities and infrastructure push but also Public-Private Consortium of companies who can collaborate and can join hands. India decades ago lacked in indigenous aircraft program but, now India is aggressively pursuing the development of military jets to indigenous regional airline and helicopter program which will require to push for multiple engine programs and will have to pool in all the resources it can to achieve its goals.
Many Private aerospace companies have initiated smaller engine developments for in use for UAVs and missile with their own funding’s and will require the support of the government if we want them to make it big in this sector. Imported Engines alone make up nearly 25-30% of the cost of the product in each aircraft we produce and no matter what is the level of Transfer of Technology of this engines, they will always affect their export rights.
Unlike China, We don’t have to rely on reverse engineering to kick start of engine program, well, in fact, we have the talent pool of Indian origin engineers who have working or worked with many key aerospace programs for many reputable Aero-engine manufactures world over but many Public sector companies can’t hire them, even if they want to, due to strict policies of the government due to their nationalities and low remunerations in offer not many are also keen to come back .but such rules don’t apply to Private sector companies but they are not private sector companies in India that can actually work on large scale military grade programs and even the companies exist are working on mini engines which will be limited to smaller drone or missile programs.
Private companies can provide the talent pool and Public sector companies can provide the expertise and resources, which can be a win-win situation for India. Hope we don’t have to wait for another major arms sanctions to wake up from our slander sleep.
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