Kaveri engine powered LCA-Tejas by 2018-19 could be reality thanks to French SAFRAN
India’s stalled Kaveri gas turbine engine developed for combat planes received a major boost after leading French defence manufacturer Safran agreed to help revive the Kaveri project and make it combat-worthy in 18 months was cleared by Ministry of Defence (MOD) as offset obligation on 36 Rafale fighter jet deal.
As per Industrial sources, close to idrw.org. LCA-Tejas Prototype will be used to start Ground trials and by 2018, DRDO plans to integrate Kaveri engine into the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.
Once engine clears few certification and safety related aspects only then, LCA-Tejas will be cleared to make its first flight with indigenously developed Kaveri engine which according to DRDO should happen by 2020. DRDO and Safran plan to start integration work by end of 2018 or early 2019 and major ground trials with Kaveri engine will be scheduled for major part of 2019 before its first flight by 2020.
Defence Analyst Ranesh Rajan speaking to idrw.org thinks that certification of Kaveri with LCA-Tejas might go on for nearly 5-6 years before the engine can be cleared by for mass production. IAF is supporting the project and is keen that Kaveri engine is developed so that can help replace American supplied General Electric F404 engine in future.