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India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is reportedly making significant progress on a new 91kN thrust engine derived from the Kaveri engine program. This news comes from sources familiar with the program speaking to

The current Dry Kaveri engine generates 46kN of thrust. DRDO’s plan involves mating it with a new afterburner section, boosting output to 73kN. This modified engine will first be certified for use in older LCA-Tejas LSP variants before integration into the RPSA (Ghatak UCAV) program.

Initial design studies using computer-aided design (CAD) models and the subsequent geometry-based analyses for evaluation of the quality of a concept suggest promising results. The existing Kaveri core could potentially be enhanced to deliver 55-57kN of dry thrust. When combined with an afterburner, this could reach over 90kN, exceeding the thrust of the current F404-IN20 engine (84kN with an afterburner).

If India decides to swap F404-IN20 engines for a new Kaveri engine this could mean increased thrust that translates to better acceleration, higher top speeds, and enhanced payload capacity for the LCA Tejas Mk1 fighter jets. Indigenous engine programs could also reduce dependence on foreign sources for critical military technology since each fighter jet over its 40-plus years of operational life requires more than 3 engine changes. 

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