The dream of fitting Kaveri engine being developed indigenously onto the home-grown Light Combat Aircraft LCA-Tejas appears to be as good as over.
“As and when there is support required by the Kaveri engine, LCA will give support of its flying test facilities”, Subramanyam said. He expected flying tests of Kaveri engine to lead to its fitting into unmanned air systems. Subramanyam said Kaveri engine-fitted LCA would not go into the Services. “In the production aircraft (LCA) going into the Services, Kaveri engine will not be there.”
Kaveri engine, originally intended to power the LCA, was taken up for development by the Bangalore-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) about two-and-half-decades ago, but the project has been dogged by delays, with the DRDO lab not being fully able to overcome technical challenges and development snags.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Director General V K Saraswat said unmanned air systems would see the integration of Kaveri engine for different applications. Kaveri engine will be demonstrated on board an Indian origin aircraft, added Saraswat, also Secretary in the Department of Defence (R&D).
Meanwhile, Subramanyam said the first LCA produced by HAL would be ready in the third quarter of this year.