France will Revive India’s Kaveri Engine Program If India Orders 36 More Rafale

Indian dependency on foreign aero engines are well recorded. India’s desperate attempt to build domestic defense industry and maintain operational capability through import made India numer one weapon importer in the world.

The Asia-Pacific nation India, see the importance of advanced engine capabilities. With no domestic capability, India’s only hope to licensed produced General Electric engine and locally assembled Russian engines at HAL.

Indian setup new organization, Gas Turbine Research Establishnent. New Delhi’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) developed the GTX-35VS Kaveri engine for the Hindustan Aeronautics Tejas fighter. Kevari engine is far from anywhere but at the design and development stage.

The Kaveri programme suffered numerous cost and technical issues, and was never installed on a Tejas, which instead uses the GE Aviation F404.

The Kaveri programme was abandoned for a period, but received a second chance in 2016 as the possible powerplant for New Delhi’s planned Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. Under offset agreements related to India’s acquisition of 36 Dassault Rafale fighters, France’s Snecma is helping to revive the programme.

France has offered a 1-billion euro investment to revive the project. Several rounds of discussions have already taken place since January between Safran, which has developed the M88 engines for Rafale, and Indian developers. The French side emphasised that India was the only country to which such advanced technology transfer was being offered and that the country would achieve ‘sovereignty’ on aero engine tech.

France proposes that if India orders 36 more Rafale then it would be viable option for Snecma to transfer technology to India and manufacture parts for Engine that will power India’s indigenous aircraft HAL Tejas. India will spend £25 billion for the life cycle of Tejas, reported NDTV. Indian DRDO agreed to pay £500 million if France side invest £1 billion as part of offset clause of 36 Rafale, India ordered earlier.

IAF Rafale Source Dassault Aviation

Still, great uncertainty remains over Indian jet engine technology. A recent media report quoted T Mohan Rao, a former head of GTRE, as saying the nation’s efforts in propulsion will fall behind, owing to bureaucratic indifference and a lack of funding. Moreover, the Indian Air Force is understood to be highly dubious about the Kaveri.

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