A one-day national workshop was held by Society for Advancement of Aerospace Propulsion which debated the constraints in developing and indigenous Aero Gas Turbine Engine, at the Aeronautical Society on India, in Bengaluru on June 22, 2019.
Despite having an excellent design house, and expertise in the form of DRDO, HAL, NAL, ISRO, IISc and IITs, strong academic institutions and also private R&D entrepreneurs, India has been unable to successfully develop an Aero Gas Turbine Engine.
To find solutions for this problem, a national workshop was held where experts debated why India was still lagging in this field. The workshop was inaugurated by legends in the field such as Dr. K. Tamilmani (Former DS and Dg- Aero, DRDO), Dr. Kota Harinarayana (Former PGD ADA-DRDO), T. Mohana Rao (Former Director – GTRE) and Ashok Baweja (former Chairman – HAL).
Dr. Tamilmani gave the keynote speech and insisted in his speech that “deployed manpower for aero engine development is grossly inadequate in the country.” Pointing out to China, he said that the neighbouring country has more that 4,00,000 professional working in the aviation industry. In comparison, India just has around 40,000 people working in the aeronautical field.
Dr, Tamilmani said that China has invested USD 16 billion in aero engine development and plans to invest USD 40 billion over the next two decades. India on the other hand has just invested USD 0.55 billion in aero engine development.
Alluding to certain successes as the Wankel engine, the former DRDO and CEMILAC man said that the task of developing a medium thrust (75kN) engine was not impossible and could be accomplished. He insisted that the time frame of developing a new engine from scratch would take 15 years while producing a variant could take 10 years.
He insisted that Line Replaceable Units or LRUs need to be indigenised and India was quite successful in this field. He also talked about Auxiliary Power Units or APUs and added that India had successfully produced APU for a few models such as the Arjun MBT.
The former DRDO man pointed out that India needed to create a National Materiel Bank. Dr. Tamilmani said that as engines got more powerful, new and different materials were needed which could withstand the extreme heat, hence the need for a National Materiel Bank from which appropriate materials could be sourced.
Dr. Kota Harinarayana chaired the session. Mohana Rao spoke on the challenges and preparedness during the design and development of Aero Gas trbine engines. T. Venkatakrishniah (former additional director GTRE) spoke abou the challenges and experiences while designing and developing an aero gas turbine engine. G. Gowda (Group director (P), CEMILAC, DRDO) spoke of airworthiness related issues.
M. Narayana Rao (Fmr. CMD, MIDHANI) spoke on aeronautical material and indigenous capabilities. Dr. Naresh Palta of Maini Group spoke on aero-engine manufacturing support by private industries. V. Balakrishnan (Fmr. ED, HAL – engines) spoke on the manufacturing and MRO capabilities of HAL.
Prof. Dipankar Banerjee of IISC, Ashok Kumar Sindhu of Godrej Aerospace and P. Sivakumar of Titan Engineering and Automation LTD. Were the other speakers at the event.