India’s Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has decided to power the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark-2 with GE-414 engines built by General Electric. It was previously decided that the Kaveri engines would be used to develop the aircraft.
Citing a need for greater thrust and power, the DRDO will order 99 GE-414 engines while the rest will be manufactured in India.
DRDO spokesperson, Ravi Kumar Gupta told Defenseworld.net, “We want to first develop an indigenous fighter aircraft and then make it the best. To do that we need greater power and thrust. Keeping that in mind, we flew a few sorties and it was decided that the GE 414 was a more powerful engine”.
However, one Kaveri engine will be retained and integrated into a light combat aircraft for testing purposes. “This is so that we can learn and gain experience,” says Gupta. The Kaveri engine, which is still being tested on a Russian flight test bed, will be used to power India’s UAV program.
“The Kaveri will fulfill our ambitious UAV program,” added Gupta.
The LCA Mark-I, which is expected to be ready for induction in 2014, will fly on GE 404 engines along manufactured by General Electric.
The LCA Mark-2 is currently being developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency in Bangalore and expected to be ready around 2017.