The indigenously designed and developed Kaveri Engine was successfully flight tested by DRDO yesterday during the Flying Test Bed (FTB) Trials at Gromov Flight Research Institute (GFRI), Moscow, Russia. The engine was tested from take-off to landing and flew for a period of over one hour up to at an altitude of 6000m at a speed of 0.6 mach on its maiden flight. The engine control, engine performance and engine health during the flight were found to be excellent. With this test, Kaveri Engine has completed a major milestone of the development program. During the coming months further 50-60 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.
An existing Il-76 aircraft was modified as a Flying Test Bed for this trial, with Kaveri engine replacing one of the four engines of the aircraft. The modifications included instrumentation required for trials as well as integration of mechanical, electrical and fuel system. The engine was controlled by the pilot from the cockpit. A number of taxi trials were carried out with Kaveri Engine integrated with the aircraft, before this maiden flight. The engine data was recorded in the aircraft as well as transmitted to ground station by telemetry.
A team of 20 scientists from Gas Turbine Research Establishment, DRDO, have been working along with GFRI for these trials. Dr Prahlada, Chief Controller, R&D (Aeronautics & Services Interaction) briefed the Media about the significance of the first flight.
Kaveri engine is being developed for fighter aircraft at India’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), a DRDO laboratory based in Bangalore with the active support of several other DRDO labs, academic institutions and industry partners. During the development phase, Kaveri engine has successfully completed various stages of development including component testing, safety tests, ground based engine tests, endurance tests etc, both at GTRE as well as test facilities abroad.