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Modified Kaveri engine to propel Indian Navy ships

File photo of Kaveri engine

BANGALORE (BNS): The Indian Navy is acquiring the indigenous Kaveri aircraft engine being developed by DRDO for powering its growing fleet of warships, a media report said.

According to Business Standard Tuesday, the navy has officially informed the Gas Turbine and Research Establishment (GTRE) that naval warships will need 40 Kaveri Marine Gas Turbines (KMGTs) over the next 15 years. GTRE is a DRDO laboratory that developed the Kaveri aircraft engine’s technology.

GTRE has developed the marine Kaveri by modifying the aero engine with a shaft, through which power can be delivered to a propeller. The Navy has carried out extensive tests of the engines at Visakhapatnam and found that the marine Kaveri can deliver 12 Megawatts (16,000 Horsepower) of propulsion power, the report said.

Typically warships run on regular diesel engines; gas turbines (such as the Kaveri) are added on to provide “boost power”, needed for manoeuvring in battle. Contemporary gas turbines, such as the General Electric LM2500, provide India’s latest 5000-tonne Shivalik class frigates with 22 Mw of boost. The Kaveri’s more modest 12 Mw is sufficient only for smaller warships.

The daily quoting GTRE Director, Dr Mohana Rao said, “So far, the KMGT is just a spin-off from the aero version. I want to give the navy an engine with far greater endurance. An aero engine’s life is just 3000 hours; a marine engine’s life should be 30,000 hours. I must physically test the KMGT for at least 15,000 hours.”

GTRE which is already developing 3-4 test engines will begin trials within three years. “We plan to begin delivery in about 6 years,” Rao said.

“We hope to keep the cost below Rs 25-30 crores, which is considerably cheaper than buying imported gas turbines,” he added.
The Indian Navy plans to replace the diesel generators fitted on older warships with the Kaveri GTG. If it performs well over a period of time, the new-generation warships will also get electrical power from the Kaveri GTG, it said.

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