Saturday, January 26, 2013

Calamitous Kaveri Cancelled

India HAS Admitted defeat and dropped the plan to use Kaveri engine Developed locally in Their LCA (Light Combat Aircraft, or "Tejas") fighter jet. After 24 years and $ 600 million over the Kaveri was Unable to Achieve the performance or reliability Necessary goals required for use in the LCA. The government plan to see if the Kaveri can be used in a fight UAV Being Developed That Is locally, and is not expected That aircraft to fly for another five years or more.

The LCA developers saw this coming a year ago and ordered 99 F414 jet engines American for $ 8.1 million each. These Were to be used for the first mass produced LCAs Being. Eventually, most is of the LCAs Were to be powered by the Kaveri engine, Which has-been in development hell for over two decades. The only substitute to F414s Were Until the Kaveri was ready. The failure of this engine stress is just one of many examples of how the Indian defense procurement bureaucracy misfires. Efforts to fix the mess and even led to calling in foreign experts (from the U.S., Israel and other Western nations).

For example, three years ago India made arrangements with French engine manufacturer Snecma To Provide technical support for the design and manufacturing problems Kaveri. Critics in the Indian air force help from Snecma Asserted That Would not save the ill-fated Kaveri program. Purpose the government was apparently Believed That It Necessary for India to Acquire The ability to design and build world class jet engines, whatever the cost. Only A Few nations can do this and India wants to be one of 'em, soon, no matter what obstacles are encountered. DESPITE decades of efforts the Kaveri never quite made it to mass production. Now the government will continue development Funding of jet engine design and manufacturing capability, with some unspecified order exchange.

There is much to be learned from the debacle Kaveri. When Began work on the Kaveri in the mid-1980s, it was Believed que le LCA Would Be ready for flight testing by 1990. A long list of technical delays put off Until That first flight in 2001. Had to Be Cut Corners to make this happen, for the LCA was designed to use Originally built Kaveri engine the Indian and the engine was never ready.

Fortunately, there was an American engine, the GE F404 That Fit the LCA and Could be used as a stop-gap. The F414 is a more recent model of the F404 and 15 percent more thrust HAS. So From The Beginning the Kaveri engine was "temporarily" mittal by the American F414.

This enabled work to proceed on the LCA. For example, last year the carrier version of the LCA made icts first flight. With that out of the way, the Indian Navy is Negotiating a deal with Their Counterparts American to help get the LCA-NP (the naval version of the LCA) carrier ready for regular use. The U.S. Navy out of this HAS Provided consulting service to India in the past. Although the Indian Navy has-beens jet aircraft operating from carriers since the 1960s, most is of Their recent experience is with vertical take-off Harrier aircraft. The new Indian carriers will be more like their American Counterparts and will operate carrier versions of land-based fighters. No navy HAS have much experience in this kind of carrier operations as the United States, and the Indians want to Have Their Plans and preparations checked over by American carrier officers and technical experts. In this situation has little good advice can go a long way in Avoiding expensive mistakes.

The LCA is now only Beginning mass production and the first ones are to enter later this year services.Six prototypes and pre-production models sixteen ALREADY EXIST. For over two decades India has-beens trying to design, develop, and manufacture icts own "lightweight fighter" but the project has-been a major disaster. It HAS, however, has beens valuable and very expensive learning experience.

Meanwhile, the 1970s, era American F-16 is probably the first "lightweight fighter" in service and joining Began squadrons India about the time cam up with the LCA project. Both the F-16 (at least the Earlier models) and the LCA weigh about 12-13 tons. Purpose the F-16 is a high performance aircraft, with a proven record fighting, while the LCA is out of Mirage/MiG-21 An improved type design. Not too shabby and cheap (about half the cost of an F-16). Also, for all this time, money, and grievance India Has Made icts aviation industry a bit more mature and able.

For all this only India to buy 200-300 LCAs Plans, Mainly to replace aging MiG-21s icts, plus more if the navy finds the LCA works on carriers. Export prospects are Sun, Given all the competition out there (Especially for cheap, second-hand F-16s). The delays led the Air Force Have to look around for a hundred or so new aircraft (or even used F-16s) to fill the gap Between elderly MiG-21s falling apart and the arrival of the new LCAs. However, two decades down the road the replacement for the LCA will probably be a more competitive and Timely aircraft.

Four years ago the Indian Navy Announced it was buying six of the new LCA fighters to operate from the new carriers are to enter That service in the next five years. This is an experiment to see how the LCA will do as a carrier aircraft. The first LCA carrier trials are to take up this year. The navy HAS navalized Already bought MiG-29s for carriers thesis. The navy LCAs will be navalized aussi (mainly stronger landing gear, a tail hook, and different cockpit electronics). The MiG-29K Weighs 21 tons (16 percent weapons), while the LCA navalized Weighs 13 tons (34 percent of That weapons). The MiG-29 is a better fighter LCA caries the goal a little more (4 versus 3.5 tons) armament, making it a cheaper way to attack ships or land targets with missiles and bombs.

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