Arup Chatterjee, Director (Engineering and R&D), HAL says :
Harvesting all the learnings of small engines and co-development, today the R&D unit of HAL, AERDC (Aero Engine Research and Design Centre) is tasked to develop two prestigious engines namely; Hindustan Turbo Fan engine (HTFE-25) of 25 kN thrust which can power trainer aircraft, UAV’s, Twin engine small fighter aircraft or regional jets and Hindustan Turbo Shaft engine (HTSE-1200) of shaft power rating which can power Light & Medium weight helicopters (3.5 to 6.5 tonnes in single/ twin engine configuration)
Significant progress has been made in both the projects with successful trial runs of 25 kN core engine and 1200 kW Jet mode version engine up to 100% RPM. HAL is confident of achieving the targeted design parameters and productionising these engines.
However the challenges are many in aero engine design like:
As a strategy, HAL has earmarked nearly 1000 crores from its internal funds exclusively for Engine Development.
- Funding challenges
- Technological challenges
- Trained man power specific to aviation industry
- Testing facilities from component test facility to Flying Test bed
- Precision manufacturing and established Vendor base etc.
The HTFE-25 and HTSE-1200 engine programs, both of which are in prototype evaluation phase are loaded with some of the concurrent technologies like High Pressure Compressor, Effusion cooled combustor, SX Blades, 3D printed parts, laser shock peening, FADEC, Atomizers, High speed Gearbox etc. In parallel, futuristic developments in technology are also in progress, like Afterburner on PTAE and HTFE, Flame propagating nozzles, EHSV and Stepper motor based FMUs etc.
On the material and processes front, HAL is developing SX blades with DMRL for HTSE-1200 engine program. The coating by EBPVD method is also being established with ARCI Hyderabad to be utilized on SX blades. The process has been proven on sample blades. Similarly the Laser shock peening will be utilized through Coventry University UK. We are developing atomizers with IISc.
HAL is constantly imparting knowledge to its work force for training its manpower. It is trying to keep abreast with the latest happenings in the field by joining hands with inland and foreign universities like IITs, IISc, Cranfield University etc.
HAL is utilizing the established but limited facilities at NAL, GTRE and other DRDO labs for testing combustor, gas generator turbine, electronic components etc. However we do not have the facilities in the country to test compressors, HP turbines, power turbines of the order of 1 MW and above with matching speeds. Flying test bed and altitude test benches are the two major facilities which have to be established on case to case basis, which demand an investment of the order of 1500+ Crores. These facilities are expected to be established under the proposed AERO ENGINE COMPLEX by MoD as National Test Facilities.
On establishing and handholding the MSMEs, HAL is providing opportunities to be partners in development. There are 70+ vendors with AERDC-HAL which are exclusively sensitized for engine development. They are onboard in the development stage itself so that there can be a smooth transition to production stage.