The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is gearing up for a significant leap in India’s indigenous aero engine development with the construction of a Twin Test Cell facility at the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) in Bangalore. This state-of-the-art facility, slated for completion by late 2025, will play a crucial role in testing and refining cutting-edge aero gas turbine engines for future Indian fighter jets and military aircraft.

The Twin Test Cell, as the name suggests, will comprise two separate test cells. Each cell will be equipped to handle engines with a thrust class of up to 130 kN, making it a significant upgrade from existing facilities. This increased capacity will allow DRDO to test and develop engines for a wider range of military aircraft, including future generations of fighter jets with enhanced power and performance.

One of the unique features of the Twin Test Cell is its versatility. The first cell will be designed for testing engines with axisymmetric nozzles, a common configuration for most jet engines. The second cell, however, will be equipped to accommodate engines with thrust vectoring nozzles (TVN). These advanced nozzles can be dynamically angled to change the direction of thrust, providing enhanced manoeuvrability and agility to the aircraft.

A Peek Inside the Powerhouse:

The proposed Twin Test Cell will be a marvel of engineering, meticulously designed to optimize the testing process. The layout will include:

  • One normally aspirated test cell with a roof-mounted thrust stand: This will allow for precise measurement of engine thrust and performance in a controlled environment.
  • Another normally aspirated test cell for TVN engines: This cell will be equipped with special infrastructure to handle the dynamic movements of the thrust vectoring nozzle.
  • Aerodynamic design for a wide range of engines: The entire test cell, from the intake to the exhaust system, will be designed to accommodate engines with thrust ranging from 40 kN to 130 kN, ensuring flexibility and future-proofing.

The Twin Test Cell project marks a significant step forward in India’s quest for self-reliance in aero engine development. This cutting-edge facility will provide the crucial testing infrastructure needed to refine and perfect next-generation engines, propelling India closer to the coveted goal of designing and building its own fighter jets and military aircraft.

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