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The Indian Navy, traditionally reliant on foreign suppliers for its warships’ engines, is charting a new course towards self-sufficiency. This ambitious initiative aims to develop a range of indigenous marine engines, empowering domestic industries and reducing dependence on external sources.

Currently, the Indian Navy utilizes a combination of diesel engines and gas turbines sourced from Ukraine, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This strategy, while functional, presents challenges in terms of supply chain vulnerability and long-term maintenance needs.

The Navy’s plan prioritizes the development of diesel engines suitable for powering medium-class warships. Collaborations with Indian companies experienced in commercial diesel gensets and smaller vessel engines are underway. The Navy will partially fund these projects, fostering domestic expertise and production capabilities.

For larger warships, the focus is on gas turbine engines. Talks are ongoing with the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) to develop a new and improved variant of the Kaveri Marine Gas Turbine (KMGT). This modified version of the Dry Kaveri engine, featuring a low-pressure configuration and a free-power turbine, promises efficient power generation. Notably, the Dry Kaveri’s ability to maintain power output in hot Indian climates makes it a suitable candidate for powering medium-class warships.

The Indian Navy is also exploring the co-development of electric propulsion systems for larger vessels in collaboration with the United Kingdom. This technology, manufactured locally, would offer greater efficiency and potentially lower operating costs.

Looking even further ahead, the Navy is considering a modified version of one of the jet engines being developed for the AMCA program as a future marine gas turbine option for high-power requirements.

The Indian Navy’s ambitious roadmap aims to commence trials of these domestically developed diesel engines and marine gas turbines by 2028-29. By 2040, the Navy aspires to achieve complete self-reliance in marine propulsion systems, severing dependence on foreign suppliers and bolstering national security.

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