SOURCE: SATYAJEET KUMAR/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
The Utility of HTFE-25 (Hindustan Turbo Fan Engine) is a 25kN turbofan engine is still unknown but once certified it could be an ideal engine to power a 5-ton high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV that is capable of attack and surveillance missions. Jet-powered UAVs are more efficient at operating at higher altitudes and can cruise at an altitude of 50,000ft which would put them out of the range of typical anti-aircraft firepower for up to 24 hours.
As stated by HAL, HTFE-25 can support Manned or Unmanned platforms that have a Maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 5,000 kg and jet-powered HALE UAVs have an advantage over Turboprop engine-powered drones not only in speed but also in cruise altitudes that it can fly.
Indian Air Force not so long ago was considering procuring General Atomics developed MQ-20 Avenger combat drone powered by a turbofan engine but the deal never went through as Pentagon and US Government were not keen on the Transfer of Technology that was demanded by India back then.
HAL is developing Combat Air Teaming System [CATS] Warrior as part of the Loyal wingman program but it has MTOW of just 1300 kg that will be powered by a Twin PTA7E turbojet engine generating 3.73 kN of thrust each which won’t be good enough to carry heavy payloads nor provide endurance.
25kN turbofan engine could be an ideal mid-tier unmanned combat platform that can fit in between HAL Warrior and DRDO-developed Ghatak UCAV.
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