Saturday, 12 December 2009

Kaveri engine comes alive; will power Indian fighters


The Kaveri on a test bed at GTRE, Bangalore, readying for its despatch to Russia for altitude and flight tests. The testing, near Moscow, is going well, say GTRE officials.


by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 12th Dec 09

In what was nominated in 1976 as the Fight of the Year, boxing legend, George Foreman, staggered to his feet after being twice knocked down by Ron Lyle, to flatten Lyle with a stunning knockout punch. If the Ministry of Defence has its way, India’s Kaveri engine, bitterly criticised as underpowered even after two decades of development, could recover to do a Foreman on its two world-class rivals.

Meant to power the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Kaveri was heading for a quiet burial after completing flight tests that are underway in Russia. In its place, two alternatives were short-listed: the Eurojet EJ200, and the General Electric F-414 engines. A final choice was expected within weeks.

But, unexpectedly, the Kaveri has gotten off the floor. Business Standard has learned that the MoD --- apprehending that Eurojet and GE would hang back from providing India with critical engine technologies, even if Transfer of Technology (ToT) was mandated in a purchase contract --- now wants to co-develop an engine in India rather than manufacturing one under licence. The DRDO’s Gas Turbine and Research Establishment (GTRE), which has a design partnership with French engine-maker, Snecma, has been asked to design a more powerful Kaveri successor.

A Snecma-GTRE joint venture to develop the upgraded Kaveri is likely to be announced during President Nikolas Sarkozy’s visit to India in early 2010.

Minister of State for Defence, Dr Pallam Raju, has confirmed to Business Standard, “It is important for India to have indigenous capabilities in engine design. And having invested so many man-hours of work into the design of the Kaveri engine, it would be a national waste to fritter away or dilute those capabilities…. (Snecma) is willing to co-develop an engine with us; they are willing to go beyond just transfer of technology. It is a value-added offer that gives us better technology than what we would get from ToT from Eurojet or GE.”

Amongst the key engine technologies that India needs is that for Single Crystal Blades, which significantly enhance turbine performance within the incandescent confines of a jet engine combustion chamber. The MoD suspects that this technology, worth billions of dollars, will not be fully transferred by Eurojet or by GE.

An MoD official, who is closely involved in deciding between the EJ200 and the F-414, explains this apprehension: “The tender stipulates that 50% of the technology must be transferred to India. But the vendor will lump together a bunch of low-end technologies that might add up to 50%. What we want is one or two high-end technologies.”

GTRE designers say that it would take about 4 years to co-develop an engine with Snecma, somewhat longer than the 3-year time frame in which the EJ200 or F-414 would start being delivered. Based upon the performance of the Kaveri flight in the ongoing flight tests in Russia, GTRE sources are confident that, “Snecma-GTRE is fully capable of producing an engine as good as the F-414 and the EJ-200.”

That will involve improving from the current Kaveri’s maximum thrust of 65 Kilo Newtons (KN), to the 95 KN that the EJ200 and F-414 develop.

While Snecma remains tight-lipped, it is aware of the challenges in such a project. Business Standard has learned that Snecma had conducted a Technical Audit of the Kaveri programme in 1998, identifying design challenges that included developing materials that could withstand the combustion chamber temperatures of around 2000 degrees centigrade.

While the MoD is trusting Snecma to help GTRE in overcoming these challenges, it is also aware of the Kaveri’s unenviable record of time and cost overruns. The MoD is still considering whether to put all its eggs in the GTRE-Snecma basket or to go ahead on a parallel track, choosing either the EJ200, or the GE F-414, as insurance against further delays.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

Brilliant news. Finally, finally, some people in the MOD have started thinking straight. This move was long overdue.
China for example, is doing all it can to make the WS-10 operational, including copying the CFM series of commercial engines for its basic design and then asking Russia for design consultancy, TOT and help. At the same time, so that their local programs were not delayed, they imported hundreds of AL-31FN's.

If India does what you suggested, ie Kaveri + EJ200 in parallel, it would be a very sagacious and well thought of move. Of course, I fully expect the ranters to now spam the blog and attack you, the MOD & GTRE for reporting/ doing this & call names, but it does not take away from the importance and overall strategy of this move.

Anonymous said...

Yawn.. A rehash of the old comments and well known stuff. If you remember the "GTRE-Snecma partnership" was supposed to be signed in "3 months" many many many moons ago.

And we still have this analysis-paralysis about what to do with the engine for the LCA.

With this kind of analysis paralysis, many many moons will go from now and you will be still left with same state , ie NO ENGINE.

I think more than anything else, some very smart Babu somewhere has primed you well and used you as a "talking mouth" to basically try to open more pressure points on GE /Eurojet to see if the complete technology, including the key materials technology for the engines and design methodologies will be transferred. The "threat" to go with Snecma is exactly that.

I think GE and Eurojet will safely call the bluff and not bite. For that matter, while I think Snecma will be willing to do co design, they will not transfer material technology. That part the Indians have to do on their own. So go back to your notes on DMRL /Midhani and check how things are going on that. Or better, get on to your phone and do a trinng triing to the people you talked to earlier and try getting an update.

That infact will be far more useful than this empty rehash of recycled information. Just a waste of newsprint if you ask me.

joydeep ghosh said...

hi

Ajai sir

real thnaks for some good news on Kaveri. I had asked u sometime back abt Kaveri, finally its going 2 c the light after tunnel

The Snecma-GTRE job will be good, it seems,

I dont know much abt engines or blades, but I have query

Q1. wont it help to chrome coat the engine blades to enhance their aero dynamic effect, n similar coating on the inside.

Q2. is it going to be used in the LCA Mk 2.

Q3. Cant we invoke a deal where it stipuates that if the engine is developed by 2013, Snecma gets extra moolah.

by the way, I still have one querry abt ur last blog

Q can we refurbish imported reactors, like what we did in RAPS.

Anonymous said...

All this will do is further delay the LCA MK2 and eventually make the IAF cancel the project and buy more MRCA.

Let us buy the F414 for the LCA MK2. And let Kaveri development continue. If successful it can be used for the MCA and reengineing of other IAF fighters.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, now we can expect a delay of another 5 years in just the engine development cycle.

The need of the hour is to purchase as many engines as required to get the LCA inducted, AND work with Snecma to derive higher thrust from the Ganga. btw, the Snecma M88 only develops 50kn dry thrust and 75kn AB.

Do we really expect a miracle with their core?

What we need desperately is transfer of technology for materials for increasing the TET and of course the SCB process. Wouldn't you have expected the MoD to include that in the tender process as a basic requirement rather than stick to a random 50% basis?

There is something rotten in the whole process and India will be the biggest loser unless we managed to rein in the political expediencies of both DRDO/GTRE, the Babulok, and the IAF. We need Anthonychetan to kick serious butt and live up to his Gandhian values. Time will tell though!

AK said...

Single Crystal Blade tech!!! Russia is already providing that for the Su30 deal ToT. HAL has already start to integrate these tech. What else does India need from the French now? I completely fail to understand how the MoD mandarins think. Good luck LCA M2, go down with a blaze of glory.

Vivek said...

To quote Mr. Raju,

“It is important for India to have indigenous capabilities in engine design. And having invested so many man-hours of work into the design of the Kaveri engine, it would be a national waste to fritter away or dilute those capabilities…."

What's a bigger waste is that the entire Tejas program has been slowed down by the Kaveri bottleneck.

Why the hell is this emphasis on a completely indigenous fighter. If India wishes a to have a slice of the global military market, it needs to start picking its priorities instead of competing across the spectrum. Investing in R&D for an engine is economically feasible, only when either

a)the country's military supplies aren't assured(which they are; sanctions aren't a worry any more)

b)the aircraft will undergo a long production run(perhaps get exported). In the case of the Tejas; its getting commissioned into service at the same time as the F-35(and maybe PAKFA), so that's not likely.

The Gripen, FC-1, J-10, F-2 programs all operate with imported engines. Why is getting the Tejas with an indigenous engine such a matter of honour. Especially since, it doesn't look like its numbers are going to exceed four squadrons.

From an IAF, operating 126 EF/Rafale/SuperHornet and 230/280 Su-30MKI's(and starting to induct the FGFA), they're not very excited by the performance the Tejas brings to the table. Its going to be 'satisfactory' at best. So, lets just install the EJ-200 or F-414 and get on with it instead of waiting for the Kaveri to finally get it right. While its a fine jet for now, the longer the Tejas is delayed, the more it loses its relevance.

AKS said...

honestly is this a good news or bad one I don't understand

Broadsword said...

REGARDING DELAY ON THE LCA MK 2:

Perhaps you all should read the article more carefully. The EJ200/F-414 procurement option is being retained for now, even as the Kaveri-Snecma development programme proceeds on a parallel track.

Anonymous 09:13:

Which MoD babus are you talking about? We have the Minister of State for Defence on record here.

Your surmise --- that this article has been planted "to basically try to open more pressure points on GE /Eurojet" --- seems to disregard the fact that the MoD can much more easily generate pressure by talking directly to those companies, rather than through press plants! Are you really stupid enough to believe that they haven't voiced their apprehensions to EJ/GE?

And what exactly do you mean by "GE and Eurojet will safely call the bluff and not bite"? What do they have to bite? They had to submit a bid, which they have already done, complete with ToT proposals. There is nothing left for them to do.

Your comprehension problem clearly stems from your inability to differentiate between facts --- e.g. GTRE's partnership with Snecma --- and thinking processes, viz the MoD's determination to push forward with the Kaveri engine development programme so as not to rely on ToT for technology.

Kartik said...

Does this mean that the decision to choose between the Ej200 and F414 will be delayed? That would be the worst possible thing from the IAF's point of view and from any chance of seeing Tejas Mk2 flying in time viz. 2013

Anonymous said...

But, unexpectedly, the Kaveri has gotten off the floor

Ajai's navity is showing up or is it DRDO con job

this(crystal blade) technology, worth billions of dollars, will not be fully transferred by Eurojet or by GE.

But the ever gracious(greedy) french will pass it on a platter to GTRE?

“The tender stipulates that 50% of the technology must be transferred to India. But the vendor will lump together a bunch of low-end technologies that might add up to 50%. What we want is one or two high-end technologies.”

So so concerned Mod that it is afraid of taking for a ride by videshi, that it fogets the 25+ years of con job of deshi firm DODO.


While the MoD is trusting Snecma to help GTRE


This takes the cake, Mod willing to trust Snake -i mean Snecma, but not GE or Euro, wonder why??

Karupaswamy said...

"Kaveri engine comes alive; will power Indian fighters" ????

Only the title says so! Where in the article does it say that LCA is going to fly with Kaveri engine anytime soon?

Co development with Snecma dosent mean anything, nor does it guarantee that they will come up with one on time. Even if they come up with an engine after a decade they may ask royalties to the tune of a several million $ for the engines produced in India to make sure they dont get a new competition in the export market.

This is very similar to Russian Brahmas co development. Russians are charging an exorbitant cost for their ramjet technology to make sure this missile is not coming as a competition for their equivalents in the export market, nor are they buying Brahmas for their use.

Co-Development is nothing but TOT. It is an innovative way of fooling us, So that we don't question MoD and these Public Sector Companies for the extra huge tax money they spend (The more the tax money burnt, better the share they get).

If an outright purchase of foreign engines are made that would make the jobs at GRTE redundant and they can no longer hog our tax money.

Snecma engine bluff is only for the Job security of GTRE folks & for MoD babus to get their kickbacks, it is not going to solve any other useful purpose.

To Anonymous @ 09:13 :
GE & Eurojet are not fools to consider this story as a pressure point to lower their costs, they know that these pathetic public sector enterprises are not even capable of assimilating a TOT for a BULLOCK CART engine, forget about developing an aircraft engine.

Mark my words, if my comments are published!

GE is going to get the engine order as it is the biggest engine which needs maximum redesign, How else can you ensure the following
1. Delay the LCA so that spending our Forex on MRCA (read as: % share for MoD babus) is justified.
2. Ensure job security at HAL & ADA.

Two mangoes in a single stone to make a fools out of our taxpayers.

LCA will finally see the light of the day in 2020 when the 4th generation technology becomes vintage.

Trust me, LCA Mk2 will be there just in time when the last squadron of flying coffin (Mig21-Bison) is due for replacement.

The only solution to our indigenization wow's is to to

1. Allow 100% FDI for Defense Manufacturing so that our aviation knowledge base is improved & a new avenue of employment is created.

2. Provide all the Defense R&D Funding for Private Sector.

3. Fire all the top brass and non performing rot in HAL, ADA & DRDO and disinvest the govt stake to make them as public limited companies to compete with private sector and foreign defense firms.

4. Allow VC Funding for our IIT Professors/Scientists to bring their ideas to market.

5. Provide a 20yr Tax Holiday for the Private sector Defense Industry to grow void of any Govt Intervention and give them a free hand for export market including countries like Iran, N-Korea & Venezuela.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Karupaswamy, I just came to post my comments here but after seeing your post I thought my post will be just redundant. You just typed what was in my mind..

Thank you for reducing my effort...

Anonymous said...

I'll celebrate when I see the Kaveri actually powering an IAF plane and not a second sooner.

Just praying the MoD intelligensia dont use the Kaveri to hold up the LCA.

Enough already, can we just the damn plane to the IAF?

Anonymous said...

Co-development by JV is always better than buying off the shelf ! Don't complain that you keep procuring the vast majority of your equipment abroad if you cut the grass under your defence companies' efforts !

Abdul Enqyoob Faisalabadi said...

The only "news" here is that the Kaveri engine, unlike its Masters, has "come alive" BEFORE heading to Russia for (expensive) "high altitude tests" because said Masters are too lazy to set up a high altitude test chamber (meaning a big water pipe that can be exhausted down to about 0.05 atmospheres) in India.

So were they going to send a dead engine for High altitude tests otherwise? The other news is that a Mantri has said that SNECMA baksheesh is a better offer than GE or EJ, meaning, they better increase their baksheesh offer or else.

Pathetic. Single Crystal turbine technology has been around since the 1960s. Have these people checked into setting a few teams of undergraduates to develop blades as a 1-year competition? Probably not - the kids would show up the Babus and Mantris.

Anonymous said...

Great news

Karupaswamy said...

To Anonymous @17:11

Yes Co-Development is better than buying off the shelf if you can assimilate the technology else it is a high price training for licensed assembling of foreign parts.

We have already spent $250 million for getting 100% TOT on RD33 Engines (Russian engines used in Mig-29) several years back, If GTRE guys were competent enough they would have come up with a RD33 variant for LCA, They would ask for your tax money again.

It is foolishness to rely on the words of these public sector enterprises anymore.

If you are cheated once it is a sin committed by the cheater, If you are cheated twice by the same person then it is your fault.

Our people are so stupid and naive that these Public Sector Companies are Squandering off our tax money for every whim and wish of the Govt Babus!.

It is your money even if you dont pay Income Tax, Ex. If you buy a soap for Rs 10 The price you pay includes sales tax, central exercise, VAT, Tax on Tax (cess) & all sort of crap to the tune of 50% of the cost.

India has one of the highest tax rates in the world. What for? To feed and protect the jobs in these Incompetent Public Sector comanies?

Anonymous said...

Well the engine not only serves as a engine to power an aircaft we are studing its use in Marine and Tank Propulsion Tank here means Arjun the heavy hard hitter MBT or one of its dervetives Russian T-80 has a powerful gas turbine engine and our drdo has developed a powerful conventional engine also. Certain aspects will be under cover we may never know

Anonymous said...

India should still go through the exercise of perfecting the current (underpowered) Kaveri engine, by getting it tested and validated in Russia. This will ensure that all lessons to be learned from this engine are learned. I also favor building an underpowered Tejas with this engine... so all lessons from the LCA are learned, so they can do a better job next time.

Anonymous said...

The lack of technical knowledge of some comments is pathetic. Oh well, it's so easy to develop cutting-edge technologies....and everything is question of backsheesh, no ?...so easy to think so. Pathetic. Good news if GTRE can go ahead with SNECMA and develop indigenious technology back-to-back with one of the best motorists around the world. Nothing to do with backhseesh !

Anonymous said...

This report is laudable in that it shows the MoD is serious about jet engine development. But it appears that they are only going to catch up with 20th century tech in using SC blades. The tech that is going into engines for the 5th gen fighter programs is Ceramic Matrix Composites. Are there any programs in India that are working on this tech, and how far away are they from using this material in a hot section?

Anonymous said...

Man, the Pakistanis are really smarting over this bit of news. Take anon@12:00 who is none other than Aliph Ahmed aka Buraidiah who used to spam Aroorji's blog. Good going Ajai & MOD, when your enemies really hate a bit of news, it does mean you are doing something right.

Ru LCA said...

I THINK KAVERI 65KN IS THE DRY THRUST AND WITH AFTERBURNER IT GIVES 81KN. IF IT IS 65 KN AFTERBURNING THRUST THEN NO NEED OF TECHNOLOGY FOR SC BLADES BECAUSE IT DOSENT REQUIRE IT.

WHEN WE ARE ASSEMBLING THE WHOLE AL31 FP AND PRODUCING IT FROM THE RAW MATERIALS IN HAL WHAT DO WE MEAN BY REVERSE ENGINEERING,IT WILL APPLY TO EITHER F414 OR EJ 200IF ONE OF THEM ARE SELECTED SINCE THEY ARE NOT GIVING THE MATERIALS DATA BASE AND THE PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY WHICH IS THE REQUIRED PART.

WE ARE MANUFACTURING RD-33 SER 3 AT HAL KNOW, WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THAT IS IT IMPORT OF CORE MATERIALS AND PRODUCING THE USUAL 70% HERE.

NOW MOD BABAS WITH SOME FUNCTIONAL GREY MATTER ASK WHAT THEY REALLY NEED.

Rahul Singh said...

A bit confusing even thought article doesn't speak directly about dumping EJ200 or F-414.

I have a firm belif that new Kaveri will not be a reality anytime before 2016-17. And if they are trageting MK-2 then i will say Tejas program is in real mess! So in my openoion. It would be much better if MOD bring some clearity, might be by saying that new Kaveri will only go into last batch(MK-3) of Tejas.

Anonymous said...

I second and third Mullah Enqyoob here. If only we began better funded competitions for engineering students that were focused on defence technologies. Imagine the possibilities!

That said, we really need accountability starting from babulok and of course mai-baap politicians. Unless there is a clearer law that allows for the total and abject humiliation of corrupt people, the other thought processes will not change. Of course, it is easier for me to say that from the US rather than from a nice lab in Bangalore where I would have rather worked.

Anonymous said...

"seems to disregard the fact that the MoD can much more easily generate pressure by talking directly to those companies"

So was a good old fashioned head on cavalry type charge like the Charge of the Light Brigade, your favorite strategy when you were serving?. Those companies will simply laugh at you and wont budge if you don't have a Plan B or a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). Hence the pow-pow with Snecma. In fact the best way to "plant" a story is to do so without the "talking mouth" even realizing it is a plant. You would have been give "hot information" without even realizing what role, you as a cog in the wheel are playing.

"And what exactly do you mean by "GE and Eurojet will safely call the bluff and not bite"? What do they have to bite? They had to submit a bid, which they have already done, complete with ToT proposals. There is nothing left for them to do."

Ah Shuklaji. Surely even you realize that all the fun, dance , drama and Nautanki happens [b]AFTER[/b] the bid is submitted, and you are qualified and shortlisted and are in the final "negotiations" stage before the final contract is offered to the winner ?. This is the "negotations" dance in the final stage before offering the contract to either EJ or GE. Sure Snecma might well run on a parallel track. But I think that it will be extremely improbable.

Why ?. Coz if you get either the EJ 200 or GE 414 made in India with ToT , there is no case for the Kaveri /Snecma, atleast most definitely for the LCA.

Think of it, how many airframe changes will the plane have. First from the original Kaveri to GE 404 and now for the 414 or EJ 200 and finally one more for the "new" Kaveri/Sencma ?. Absolute madness.

If at all the new Kaveri Snecma comes about it will most probably be for the MCA or the upcoming PakFA or something. Doubt it will be for the LCA.

Kaveri/Snecma will be credible only if the MoD babus tear up the RFP for the GE 414 or EJ 200. I doubt any MoD babu or anyone in the defence forces will take such fool hardy risks given GTRE's track record.

Arvind said...

There were some earlier news reports/rumours that :-


1. Snakema wants something like US$ 2 Billion for development


2. They are basically developing 90-95kn version of M-88 with Kaveri label

3. All work done on kaveri will be dumped except name tag.

4. All work will be done in France

5. No new labs or machine shops will be built in India/GTRE

6. Kaveri-2 will have mostly french components


7. Kaver- & snakema-2 will be lauching stock of the aviation world as the engine will work but we will get screw driver tech for US$ 2 billion

4.

Aditya said...

Ajai Sir,
do you know if the F-414 EPE is on offer or is it the legacy variant?
Thank you

Broadsword said...

Anonymous 12:00:

Why don't you read up on the difference between ToT for licensed manufacture... and co-development? If you read and understand that properly, all the confusion in your mind will be cleared.

Karupaswamy:

In your long-winded comments you have written, "We have already spent $250 million for getting 100% TOT on RD33 Engines (Russian engines used in Mig-29) several years back, If GTRE guys were competent enough they would have come up with a RD33 variant for LCA, They would ask for your tax money again."

You are illustrating beautifully why ToT does not result in absorbing design skills.

Karupaswamy, you're really confused, aren't you? Where in the title does it say that the LCA is going to fly with a Kaveri engine soon??

Here's another example of your confusion: "Even if they come up with an engine after a decade they may ask royalties to the tune of a several million $ for the engines produced in India to make sure they dont get a new competition in the export market."

Just to enlighten you, the terms and conditions of a co-development agreement are negotiated beforehand. The royalties that you believe Snecma will suddenly demand would all be settled in the initial agreement.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Sir Arvin is definitively not a support of Snecma for publishing such funny rumors !! That was the best post for long, made me laugh !
Broadsword, I appreciated your clarification on the difference between ToT and co-development, very useful.
By the way, do you know why the Russians are not part of this specific competition ?

Karupaswamy said...

Broadsword :
"In your long-winded comments you have written, "We have already spent $250 million for getting 100% TOT on RD33 Engines (Russian engines used in Mig-29) several years back, If GTRE guys were competent enough they would have come up with a RD33 variant for LCA, They would ask for your tax money again."

You are illustrating beautifully why ToT does not result in absorbing design skills."

Ans : I was talking about the competencies of the public sector enterprises in absorbing TOT.

He are the Chinese examples of Russian TOT being absorbed and reverse engineered.
* RD93 reverse engineered to WS-13 for powering JF-17
* AL31F engines reverse engineered as WS10A to power f-10.

Broadsword :
"Karupaswamy, you're really confused, aren't you? Where in the title does it say that the LCA is going to fly with a Kaveri engine soon??"

Ans : If LCA is not going to fly with Kaveri which other Indian fighter is the kaveri going to power? Is it being developed for Marut? Though 65Kn thrust is good enough for Marut but looks like our MoD folks forgot to inform GTRE that Marut is retired.

Broadsword :
"Here's another example of your confusion: "Even if they come up with an engine after a decade they may ask royalties to the tune of a several million $ for the engines produced in India to make sure they dont get a new competition in the export market."

Just to enlighten you, the terms and conditions of a co-development agreement are negotiated beforehand. The royalties that you believe Snecma will suddenly demand would all be settled in the initial agreement."

Ans : Yes Agree the terms and conditions of co-development will be negotiated and a contract will be signed by the MoD exactly in the same lines of Admiral Gorshkov (Without any legal bindings or Penalty Clauses). As part of the contract SNECMA will bring in their M-88 Core and develop an engine for their next Fighter in their own design labs France funded by our tax money. Exactly like “Arvind @ 10:08” said GTRE will learn the screw driver technology for assembling the engines and pay royalties to the core.

To enlighten you the whole reason why France is not part of the EuroFighter consortium as a partner country is because they insisted to be on the driver seat of the design & development which was not acceptable for others. How different is it going to be different this time for the engine co-development, especially when the other negotiating partner is an incompetent public sector enterprise run by corrupt MoD babus.

Even the FGFA is no different our tax payers are footing 50% of the R&D cost just to learn the less than 20% of design changes needed for modifying the fighter to make it a twin seater. The design of the aircraft was already finalized & closed by the time the MoD babus signed the agreement and trumpeted that we are co-developing a Fifth Generating plane.

AA said...

IAF had done its bit to get LCA accepted ASAP (by decoupling it from Kaveri) - but DRDO/ MOD are still sticking to Kaveri. The rise of “FRENCH KAVERI”, however, can be viewed as positive. The delay in MRCA has buggered up the sharing of engines across MRCA/ LCA/ MCA platforms. Good only US, EADS (who were in the race for LCA MKII engines). Now, the potential value of the first two deals is max of $4Bn!! (Gp = $1430Mn or EF/SH = $2860Mn + LCA= $1130Mn)
Ajai, if MOD decides to go with French Kaveri for LCA & MRCA, it becomes a high risk/high reward scenario. India will be on crest of something BIG. Hope, DRDO & Snecma get it right – somehow deliver on time/ without any tech. problem.

Broadsword said...

Karupaswamy, I've got to grant you one thing! Unlike many of the visitors to Broadsword, you don't get abusive when someone tells you that you're wrong.

But you're wrong nevertheless. Here's why:-

"He are the Chinese examples of Russian TOT being absorbed and reverse engineered.
* RD93 reverse engineered to WS-13 for powering JF-17
* AL31F engines reverse engineered as WS10A to power f-10."

Just to let you know, Karupaswamy, the Chinese have done a piss-poor job of reverse engineering the RD-93. Here's what a senior (and I mean SENIOR) serving air marshall had to tell me: "All I'll say is that we're really glad the Pakis will be flying the JF-17 with the Chinese engines".

Next, you write, "f LCA is not going to fly with Kaveri which other Indian fighter is the kaveri going to power? Is it being developed for Marut? Though 65Kn thrust is good enough for Marut but looks like our MoD folks forgot to inform GTRE that Marut is retired."

My friend, you're so busy being sarcastic that you're losing sight of the facts, assuming you ever knew them. Here's reminding you that, besides the LCA, India's aircraft design programme also has the MCA and the FGFA on the horizon.

Next, you write, "Yes Agree the terms and conditions of co-development will be negotiated and a contract will be signed by the MoD exactly in the same lines of Admiral Gorshkov (Without any legal bindings or Penalty Clauses)."

Since you've already decided that the MoD is intent on bartering away India's interests, why are you wasting your time spreading goodness and light to the ignorant? If the MoD is indeed working against the national interest, then who can save us?

You, quite clearly haven't thought about why the Gorshkov negotiation is going the way it is. Russia, my friend, is not exploiting loopholes in the contract. It has simply thrown the entire contract overboard. And the reason it can do that and get away with it is not difficult to surmise. Instead of just typing mindlessly, sit and think about why Russia can do what it is doing and India, the hardest of negotiators as the entire world knows, is meekly paying up.

Another pearl of wisdom: "The whole reason why France is not part of the EuroFighter consortium as a partner country is because they insisted to be on the driver seat of the design & development which was not acceptable for others. How different is it going to be different this time for the engine co-development, especially when the other negotiating partner is an incompetent public sector enterprise run by corrupt MoD babus."

Firstly, as any serious watcher of the defence industry knows, the logic of developing a complex platform like the Eurofighter does not apply to the development of a mere engine.

And secondly, since the MoD itself is subverted, let's all just pack up and go home.

Finally and most scandalously, you write, "Even the FGFA is no different our tax payers are footing 50% of the R&D cost just to learn the less than 20% of design changes needed for modifying the fighter to make it a twin seater."

This is the kind of arrogant ignorance that characterises the broad debate on our security. You haven't the slightest idea about the negotiations that are going on over the FGFA programme, but you are putting your name to COMPLETELY FALSE statements, and actually providing fake figures to make yourself sound well informed.

Well, Karupaswamy, let me tell you that you're simply peddling lies. This last statement of yours does not merit a reply.

Anonymous said...

Keep the Kaveri engine for UCAV

Abdul Enqyoob Faisalabadi said...

Thanks to the incredibly brave "anonymous" postor who chooses to speculate on my identity rather than respond to the issues that I raise. Such coffee-shop patriotism and heroism are no doubt what have made Indian engine technology what it is, over the past 40 years of incredible progress. GTRE is racing into the 1960s as we read this, with thrust-to-weight ratios exceeding an awesome 7, and overall engine pressure ratios exceeding 20!

Technology transfer sounds like such a great idea. SO MUCH easier than thinking or hard work, and you get such shiny stuff too! Once you buy my technology under license, you write away your rights to develop it on your own. You take the money that you could have spent on paying the researchers (at 1/20th of what I charge) to develop that technology, to pay me at a very handsome rate, so that I can take my profit and re-invest it in better technology that takes my product another decade ahead of you, so that I can sell it to my enemy - and force you to buy my 30-year-old technology under license to advance from the 40-year-old stuff that you have promised not to develop.

So patriotic! May a thousand coffee shops bloom near GTRE! May a thousand "anonymous" postors commend the brilliant move to "transfer" 1960s technology for the Year 2020 LCA engine. May they prove my case every time they open their minds!

A simple point re: said postor's claim that I am who she says I am: if indeed she is right and I am related to some entity who posts on this BRF, then this "BRF" also presumably has threads where people can post their opinions and have them debated. How come she can't debate in the open? Bravery?

Rahul Singh said...

Ajai sir.

Talks are there to achieve wet thrust of 95 KN. But what about dry? Could we expect dry thrust somewhere between 62-65 KN.

Please, do reply.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ajai,

From you comments, it seems that the kaveri wont be powering the LCA anytime soon. As an NRI i am interested in the kaveri devlopment, and I was hoping to see it complete its development cycle.
I am aware developing an engine is a very complex job, did the GOI list out the areas that were causing the engine not to be manufactured ?, if so have they invested in developing the technologies ?.

Anonymous said...

Love to visit Indian defence blogs, I like the authors wining. Ajai it must burn you when you hear nations like Peru and Bolivia are buying Chinese high tech and low tech weapons. Oh yea K 8 was joint development with Pakistan. Egpyt bought rights to assemble K 8, even when it had western options. Go visit China defence blog where they actually talk about weapons instead of speculating and talking about wish list of future imports.

Anonymous said...

Ajai, China won export contracts to export weapons to Bolivia, Venzuela and Peru just this year, wheres India's contracts?

Vijay said...

Anony of 1:13,

Why don't you be so kind to us and reveal your identity, and tell us all the great things that you have done for India.

FYI, Indian expatriates the world wide are the ones directly driving the world opinion about India. It is their hard work and accomplishments and their lobbying which is at least as important as the Indians in India in establishing good international relations.

You are invited to count the zeroes on the remittances sent by Indians from abroad-highest in the world to their families in India. So, much of that has been directly responsible for the growth of states such as Punjab, Kerela e.t.c.

But, no you wont do any of the above mentinoed things you will simply and cowardly remain "Anonymous" while saying things that would have your teeth handed to you in a platter in the real world.

Broadsword said...

Anonymous 02:47:
"Ajai it must burn you when you hear nations like Peru and Bolivia are buying Chinese high tech and low tech weapons."

No, Anonymous, I don't really care... I don't watch China's defence production, which is, in most respects, ahead of India's.

I'm a professional, who does his job of watching India's defence industry. And I watch it from inside the labs and manufacturing units, not from blogs the way most of you do. And, while there are problems, I am largely satisfied with the way things are going.

It is only the shallowest kind of observers who judge progress by: Oh India sold a helicopter, but China sold a submarine... so China's winning!!

People like you will always remain zeroes. You don't come to Indian blogs because you like to hear the authors "wining" (whatever on earth is that? do you mean whining, or winning?). You come to my blog because I publish what you post, thereby giving you an identity which you otherwise don't have.

On your own steam, nobody would read a line of what you write!

Karupaswamy said...

BROADSWORD: “Karupaswamy, I've got to grant you one thing! Unlike many of the visitors to Broadsword, you don't get abusive when someone tells you that you're wrong.”

ME : I am just trying to have a constructive discussion, You bat for your contacts and defend their public sector enterprises (HAL, ADA & DRDO) and I as a personal choice would like to see private defense firms spring up. I don’t see a necessity for abuse here. In fact I appreciate your articles & admire the service your provide the nation. Thanks to broadsword and livefist, now I am a regular reader of defense news.


BROADSWORD : “Since you've already decided that the MoD is intent on bartering away India's interests, why are you wasting your time spreading goodness and light to the ignorant? If the MoD is indeed working against the national interest, then who can save us?”

ME : All the MoD’s so far from the days of Bofors days to Tehelka exposure had been putting their own self interest before national interest. This is obviously against our national interest.

BROADSWORD : “And secondly, since the MoD itself is subverted, let's all just pack up and go home.”

ME : Why should we pack up ? Shouldn’t it be the other way around!. It is our country and our tax money, We have every right to chase the corrupt babus in MoD till the end of the world and hunt them down.

BROADSWORD : “Finally and most scandalously, you write, "Even the FGFA is no different our tax payers are footing 50% of the R&D cost just to learn the less than 20% of design changes needed for modifying the fighter to make it a twin seater."

This is the kind of arrogant ignorance that characterises the broad debate on our security. You haven't the slightest idea about the negotiations that are going on over the FGFA programme, but you are putting your name to COMPLETELY FALSE statements, and actually providing fake figures to make yourself sound well informed.

Well, Karupaswamy, let me tell you that you're simply peddling lies. This last statement of yours does not merit a reply.”

ME : We readers as a common man only have access to blogs and news sites. However to refute ‘50% of the cost we foot & 20% learn’ - fake figure allegation here is what I dug out from google :

Source : http://indiadefenceonline.com/1180/russia-to-engage-india-in-5th-generation-fighter-development/

“HAL said that it was willing to participate in the Fifth generation aircraft but would only invest $2 billion on our side in the development of the fighter. As for the IAF, it had clearly indicated that India should not contribute more than $2 billion in the joint production project. But under the proposed deal, India will have to invest around $5 billion which is India’s share of fifty per cent in the joint project.”

50% of India’s cost = $5 Billion
20 % of Learn = As the design is already frozen acquiring only super cruise and stealth technology are the only new learn we are going to get, which is worth $2 Billion that HAL & IAF initially wanted to contribute.( 20% of the R&D cost for the learn = $ 2 Billion ).

Here is the source for the comments from Air Vice Marshal Kak where he talks about the missed out design phase & cost benefit analysis.

http://www.defenceaviation.com/2008/10/sukhoihal-fgfa-a-indian-stealth-fighter.html

Anonymous said...

"GTRE designers say that it would take about 4 years to co-develop an engine with Snecma"

Yea, like they have a great record with delivery dates. Whose head will be on the copping board if it takes 8, 12 or 16 years? That would be IAF whome GTRE is trying to BS.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting with the head of a Honeywell arm. This person had specialized in submarines and had been part of the design team for several (across multiple vendors). His only grouse with Indian designers and citizens was that we were so afraid of failure that we would rather not release a product than see it fail. According to him, the US learns very quickly from its mistakes, and that makes it a world leader in most defense technologies. If India learns to accept that all defense products will lack in certain aspects, and then work in iterative batches with said products implemented, we will go a long way. I cannot name him because he is a family friend and a doyen in his own right.

That said, he spent three years in all visiting different places in India and hopes that we could rise above our own self-imposed restrictions. The Kaveri is only one such example! Even with the Snecma core, it might take a while to get our other research capabilities in order.

We need to set up another private-public firm to manufacture airframes, and integrate components. Unless the unions at GTRE and sister organizations are wiped out, there will be no progress. Finally, unless there is a better style of program management with more reach into "higher authorities", there cannot be "instant" progress.

Focusing on materials research to improve the hot areas of the engine and establishing at least one additional dedicated lab for SCB are the first steps. If Snecma helps us with these techologies, the ToT or co-development would be well worth it.

To the nay-sayers, don't worry about your tax monies. Try to help improve the functioning of our homegrown establishments, and do not be dejected by failures. The Arjun is an example of us learning from failures to do better. I'm sure the learnings from Kaveri will at some stage help us develop a better engine as well.

Jai Hind.

Abdul Enqyoob Faisalabadi said...

I would strongly second the part about being willing to fail, and keep going. In the case of jet engines, even in the 1980s, the first-line fighter engines of the USAF used to encounter many different problems - these were PRODUCTION engines. Something like 1 out of every 6 would go into Screech instability when the afterburners went to full power, resulting into quick destruction of the engine liner and even burn-through. They could not predict which one of the 6 would encounter this. Likewise, one of every 20 Pershing nuclear missiles was expected to blow up on launch, yet the system was fielded in the hundreds.

If you want to develop first-rate systems, you have to be willing to take the risks, experiment, build, test, fail, analyze honestly, innovate, validate, build test, fail again, and keep at it until you succeed. THEN you can sell that hard-won experience as "ToT" or whatever to lazy people, and get rich.

Contrast this with the anaemic rate of testing and development of the Kaveri engine - this is where I fault GTRE. Sure, GTRE is small, GTRE has few engineers, and even fewer engineers who can think, and these people must be overloaded, underappreciated, and very unfairly treated. There is no one else to blame, however. If you look around India, who else other than GTRE is responsible for Gas Turnine Research in the nation?

So GTRE people should be able to articulate why India needs 100 times the current investment in engine R&D, and also, lots of Kaveri engine prototypes should be built and tested to destruction. In India.

The present pace of progress is resulting in falling behind faster and faster. The mentality of always being a follower rather than a risk-taking leader, is to blame for a large part. Didn't we read someone blaming postors (incl me) for our "ignorance" in not understanding how complex engines are?

Yes, they are complex. That's why aerospace engineers are supposed to have brains.

Fighter engine thrust to weight ratio has passed 11. Modern designs use counter-rotating stages, dispensing with stators entirely. They deal with the "impossible" resonance issues of counter-rotating stages. They deal with shocks in the rotor stages. They deal with active cooling, and active control of instabilities.

The age to be stuck on "SCB" "TOT" is long past. If you don't have at least 10 engines being tested to destruction, and an army of engineers analyzing, predicting and testing, there is no hope.

The only hope to stop China and Pakistan is to get way ahead in technology, and build defence systems in large enough numbers.

Anonymous said...

The mentality of always being a follower rather than a risk-taking leader

So what should be the targetted specs for an engine program that will start delivery in 2025? Would help to state this as such a program should start about now.

Anonymous said...

I have couple of doubt about this venture.
#1. GTRE has spent more than Rs.200 crore and some how they got the core compressor from russia which is working fine. GTRE folks are very happy for that. Now can they design and manufature similar core compressor ???? I am 100 % sure thay cannot.
#2 Still GTRE has got the problem in their Fan and LP/HP turbine issues in Kaveri ?
#3 Now they are going for the JV with the French where the LP compressor and LP turbine will be developed by GTRE.
#4 How can you expect from these people to develop the technology which is superior than the one they were not able to design and deliver ?
I would suggest that the JV partner with Snecma should be from private/public sector compnies like Infosys, Infotech, Quest, TCS and finally HAL for the manufacturing.
Jai Hind

hawkeye said...

bhailog,

i am not an engineer, but a sr. manager, guess what, if i was given time and resources, i will have my team of engineers make a brand new engine, by hook crook, copy paste, steal beg borrow, but i would have delivered, when will our sarkari departments and orgs start delivering (infact they should overdeliver) before time.

i feel so angry and frustrated, i will i can copy myself 1000 times and appoint myself in every place to get things done in this sarkar raj, god save our forces.