New Delhi (UPI) Nov 11, 2010
India has successfully flight-tested its Kaveri jet engine using an Ilyushin Il-76 transport as a test bed flown in Russia.
"The engine was tested from takeoff to landing and flew for a period of over one hour up to at an altitude of [19,700 feet] at a speed of Mach 0.6 in its maiden flight," a statement by India's defense ministry said.
"The engine control, performance and health during the flight were found to be excellent."
The pilot controlled the engine and a number of taxi trials were carried out before the flight. However, ministry didn't issue performance details, such as engine thrust, a problem with the engine in the past.
"With this test, the Kaveri engine has completed a major milestone of the development program," the Ministry of Defense said. "During the coming months further 50 to 60 test flights will be carried out to mature the engine in terms of reliability, safety and airworthiness. These trials would pave the way for further flight trials of Kaveri engine with a fighter aircraft."
The test flight, at Russia's Gromov Flight Research Institute near Moscow, comes after India's state-owned Gas Turbine Research Establishment spent around $455 million on the project in the past 20 years.
Development of the afterburning turbofan engine, first run in 1996, has suffered setbacks over the period, including an overweight issue with the engine.
The unit also has failed to produce the required thrust of 22,500 pounds needed for propelling the Tejas light combat aircraft, another overdue, indigenous military project.
In 2004, the Kaveri failed high-altitude tests in Russia, ending hopes of installing in it the first Tejas aircraft. The latest defense figures for the engine give it around 18,200 pounds of thrust.
The Kaveri engine is being developed by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, a Defense Research and Development Organization laboratory in Bangalore in conjunction with other DRDO labs, academic institutions and industry partners.
The engine is similar to other combat jet engines, such as the Eurojet EJ200, General Electric F414, and Snecma M88. Its design is a variable-cycle, flat-rated engine and has 13 percent higher thrust than the General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 engines equipping India's Tejas prototypes.
Last month, the Ministry of Defense's Aeronautical Development Agency opted for GE's upgraded production variant of the F404, the F414, for the first production run of the Tejas. The Tejas has been using the F404 to power prototype Tejas aircraft.
To power the latest version of the Tejas, last month GE aviation defeated the Eurojet consortium in a procurement process that ended with allegations of improper behavior by a Eurojet agent in New Delhi and his eventual expulsion from India.
The Ministry of Defense is set to take 99 of the F414 units, an afterburning turbofan engine developed from the F404 turbofan for use in the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It was first run in 1993.
The single-engine, delta-wing Tejas -- Sanskrit for "radiant" -- is a lightweight multi-role fighter that first flew in January 2001.
Taking the initial engine order places GE in a good position to win many more.
The Indian air force is likely to need 200 single-seat and 20 two-seat trainers. The Indian navy is said to want up to 40 single-seaters to replace its aging fleet of Sea Harrier FRS51 and Harrier T60.
During its sea level flight trials off Goa on India's western coast, the Tejas reached more than 840 miles per hour, becoming the second supersonic fighter manufactured indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, after the Marut.
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Taiwan hails US confirmation of attack helicopter deal
Taipei (AFP) Nov 10, 2010
Taiwan on Wednesday welcomed the confirmation of its purchase of a fleet of advanced US attack helicopters, saying it would boost its defences even as it seeks improved ties with mainland China. The US Department of Defense announced Tuesday that defence contractor Boeing acquired the contract to sell 30 Apache AH-64D Longbow helicopters to Taiwan, and that it was required to deliver them in ... read more
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