Now, A Third Indigenous UAV Turbofan Effort

India’s HAL has begun scouting for a technology partner for it recently revealed all-new 20kN turbofan engine programme aimed at powering UAV/UCAVs, military trainers, transports and light utility aircraft. The yet unnamed project under HAL’s Engine Test Bed Research & Development Centre (ETBRDC) in Bangalore is now the third Indian effort to build turbofan powerplants for unmanned aircraft.

The two existing efforts are the GTRE  small turbofan concept Laghu Shakti (the same as this one, for which GTRE has a tie-up with Russia’s NPO Saturn?), and a spin-off modification of the Kaveri turbofan that we now know will power India’s AURA/IUSAV stealth UCAV.

There’s a bit of overlap that needs sorting out though. In 2007, HAL had revealed that it was developing a twin spool turbofan engine to power a cruise missile under design. It had gone on to say that  that “ETBRDC will jointly develop this engine with NAL and GTRE. The engine is small; the technology involved is as complex as any bigger engine. Since the  usage is for missile application, no external help can be sought and the engine has to be wholly indigenous. This is a challenging task and ETBRDC is confident that it can meet the challenge.” (Was HAL talking about the Laghu Shakti? Possibly. The new 20kN engine effort was only announced in February this year.)

So there it is, tentatively: the GTRE-HAL-NAL Laghu Shakti for the Nirbhay cruise missile and unmanned applications, a modified spin-off version of the Kaveri engine, and HAL’s new ab initio turbofan proposal.

17 thoughts on “Now, A Third Indigenous UAV Turbofan Effort”

  1. AL-55 for which we have paid-committed USD 450 million is supposed to be design which can be tweaked from 17kn to 35 kn. So why is HAL suddenly interested in another similar engine

    Even for turboprop trainer aircraft HAL has come out with a tender even though it already manufactures Garett 331

    It reminds me of BMEL import of engine & chassis for ARV even though OFB was making it

    1. Because it is being developed for a CRUISE MISSILE, and india will hope to weponise it with a nuclear armament if needed. But since international transfer of technology norms forbid aiding a nation in arming nuclear technology ..india can never hope to do that till it is a significant indigenous effort… . Same reason for india not being able to arm its nuclear submarine with nuclear missile (procured from russia). Also india needs to end its dependence on usa for turbofan engines..Hence development of this platform is vital..

      P S – note… 'platform'

  2. Please inform the status of development of Kaveri aeroengine. GTRE/HAL must ensure that Kaveri aeroengine must start flying. Couple of Tejas must be taken over for the purpose.
    No news has come even for the marine Kaveri engine which was declared as successfully developed. How many of these marine engines were produced. What is the operating hours it has logged already. GTRE must develop a bigger rating of this engine. This engine was proposed to be used for power generation as well.
    We have not heard anything regarding IJT Sitara, Saras, LCH etc. for a long time.
    HAL must increase its efforts for commercial success of its products. HAL can easily achieve grand commercial success for the ALH Dhruv. HAL is not making any successful efforts to increase its exports.
    The company vision and objectives of the Defense PSU need to be corrected.

  3. DRDO, in an interview,has stated that Nirbhay is fully indigenous except for the engine. It is also known that Russia's NPO-Saturn will be supplying the engines. So HaL-NAL-GTRE's Laghu Shakti must be for some other system.By the by what engine they are using for Rustum-1?

  4. The fact of all the development hoopla is that they are only PROTOTYPES. They are only for demonstration purposes and cannot be translated into viable production variants. Just dumbasses spending tax money to boost their egos.

  5. Let's face it–our defence PSUs have failed us miserably, notably GTRE which must all be closed down. Its people should be culled to retain only the top performers for a new private-public engine venture to be supported 100% by the government with pay equal to or better than private sector. Then, the government needs to get out of the picture completely–let the private sector management run the show and we will magically have an engine within 5 years.

  6. some argue that R&D takes time, so the kaveri engine development is taking time. 1 open question to all of them, the brains of 3 great organizations GTRE-HAL-NAL together which recruits best of the lot of Indian engineers from prestigious institutes can't make a single jet engine for 30 years. If still they argue, I just want to know how many more years they will need to make.

  7. Nice article Mr Shiv.But it seems to me that there is a lot of dumb fu*k poster posting in your blog like the Joy and above anon (whose dad is also probably anonymous to him).

  8. HAL should be shut down or be sold to the TATAs. I can't imagine a company that has been in existence for over 6 decades and can't produce a single marketable ingenious product. Shame on HAL and shame on all the so calles IIT aerospace shit engineers. India has failed in every engine technology Kaveri Engine (fail), Cryogenic Engine (fail), Arihant engine (fail), Indian railways had to beg US for electric and diesel engines, all cars and truck engine in India are on ISUZU or CUMMINS technology. Shame on Indian FAKE engineers.

  9. HAL should be shut down or be sold to the TATAs. I can't imagine a company that has been in existence for over 6 decades and can't produce a single marketable ingenious product. Shame on HAL and shame on all the so calles IIT aerospace shit engineers. India has failed in every engine technology Kaveri Engine (fail), Cryogenic Engine (fail), Arihant engine (fail), Indian railways had to beg US for electric and diesel engines, all cars and truck engine in India are on ISUZU or CUMMINS technology. Shame on Indian FAKE engineers.

  10. If HAL can go for a collaboration with NPO Saturn to make a turbofan engine, why not go for a similar collaboration to do something with the Kaveri? I mean wudn't it be better to try out instead of wedding the M88 core to it and claiming it to be original? Atleast the Russians wudn't deny techs to India, as much as the Western nations wud?

  11. Thank you for using a photo I took of this engine along with the yellow arrow I drew pointing to the BLISK and labelling it as "LIVEFIST" without attribution or accreditation

    -the other shiv

  12. yes….lets prvtze all psu…railway….passport offices…all govt banks….hal…drdo….i wonder why isro has been so sucessfull inspite of being govt run

  13. some good points

    To Anonymous @ 9:49 AM

    Reason scientific & research is taking so long time with no extraordinary results in the end is because of our wrong educational system of favoring the toppers and only looking at the students of IITs and NITs for country's developments.. On the contrary Indian IT industry don't discriminates and pick a mix of topper and average students from every named institutes in India.. This is the reason for success in IT industry.. Indian research industry should change their recruitment system and go for campus interviews in all engineering colleges whether its small or big.. Agar Einstein IIT me pada hota to aaj Einstein nahi hota..

  14. HAL should go for collaboration with other Indian engineering colleges rather than going to Russia for a free trip… The current manufacturing and research problems should always be shared and taught in all engineering colleges in India..

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