India flight tests indigenous jet engine in Moscow

November 4th, 2010 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Nov 4 (IANS) India successfully flight tested its indigenously designed and developed Kaveri jet engine in Russia, a senior defence official said Thursday.

“The maiden test was conducted during the flying test bed trials at Gromov Flight Research Institute in Moscow Wednesday,” state-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) director Ravi Kumar Gupta said in a statement here.

The engine flew for over an hour up to an altitude of 600 metres at a speed of 0.6 Mach on board an Ilyushin-76 cargo aircraft, which was modified as a flying-test bed for the trial

The Mach number or unit is the speed of an aircraft measured in terms of the speed of sound. It is named after the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach.

The Kaveri engine has been in development over the last two decades at the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) of the DRDO in this tech hub to power the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas by the state-run Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) here for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

“The engine control, performance and health during the hour-long flight were excellent. The test is a major milestone in the jet engine development programme,” Gupta said.

Since the project’s inception in 1989-90, the development cost escalated to a whopping Rs.3,000 crore (Rs.30 billion).

A team of 20 GTRE scientists has been working with the Russian flight research institute for the trials that will be continued in the coming months to mature the engine for reliability, safety and airworthiness.

“An additional 50-60 test flights will pave the way for further trials of the engine on board a fighter aircraft,” Gupta noted.

During the test flight, Kaveri replaced one of the four engines of the aircraft and was controlled by the pilot from the cockpit. The engine data was recorded in the aircraft and transmitted to the ground station by telemetry.

“Prior to the test flight, taxi trials were carried out by integrating the engine with the aircraft,” Gupta added.

During the prolonged development phase, the engine completed various stages, including component testing, safety tests, ground-based engine tests and endurance tests at the GTRE lab and test facilities abroad.

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