India to invite bids for indigenous LCA engines

June 4th, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) India will soon invite bids for developing a more powerful engine for the homemade Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas as the development of the indigenous Kaveri engine is yet to be completed, an official said Wednesday. Tejas, meant to replace the ageing MiG-21 fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF), is currently under development in Bangalore for the last couple of decades.

“A committee has been constituted and it is in talks with international players for developing a more powerful engine for Tejas. A RFP (request for proposal) in this regard will soon be issued,” an official of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The Aeronautical Development Agency of the DRDO is developing the supersonic combat aircraft along with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

“Currently, two international companies are in the fray but the contract will be issued through due process and the company will be required to develop the engine under a joint venture with India,” the official told IANS.

The IAF has placed an order for 20 Tejas lightweight multi-role planes, India’s second indigenous fighter aircraft, and is inclined to increase the number to 40.

Earlier, it was planned that a turbofan engine, the GTX-35VS Kaveri, being developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), would be fitted to the production aircraft. But delays in development led to the purchase of General Electric engines, which even got through rough weather due to the sanction imposed post 1998 nuclear tests.

The IAF had expressed reservations about the GE engines as it increased the plane’s weight from 8,000 kg to 10,000 kg. This delayed the production of the aircraft and it will be ready for delivery only by 2011.

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