India could test Kaveri engine on Tejas by end-2013

Bangalore
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India's Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) aims to integrate the Kaveri powerplant with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Tejas fighter within the next nine months.

A test aircraft operated by India's Aeronautical Development Agency will be used for the integration, says an industry source familiar with the programme.

If the integration is successful, the GTRE hopes to see a Tejas fly with a Kaveri powerplant by the end of 2013.

As to whether the long-delayed Kaveri is ultimately adopted for use aboard the Tejas, the source says this will ultimately be up to the Indian air force.

In May 2012, defence minister AK Antony told parliament that New Delhi had no fixed timeframe to fully develop the Kaveri, although he said a test aboard the Tejas could occur in another three years.

Originally intended as the powerplant for the single-engined Tejas, the Kaveri was officially de-linked from the programme in 2008 owing to weight and performance issues.

The Tejas Mk I is powered by the General Electric F404, while the intended powerplant for the planned Tejas Mk II is the GE F414.

In March, Antony told parliament that the Kaveri's development cost was Rs28.39 billion ($520 million), nearly 10 times greater than the Rs3.83 billion originally allocated.