India’s defence agency develops critical technology for aeroengines

Photo: Aeroengine disc.

New Delhi: India’s defence research and development agency has achieved success with a critical technology for aeroengines that will help the nation to take a step closer towards self-reliance in the aerospace sector and enter an elite group of nations with this capability.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established the near isothermal forging technology to produce all the five stages of high-pressure compressors (HPC) discs out of difficult-to-deform titanium alloy using its unique 2000 MT isothermal forge press, a statement from DRDO said today.

The technology has been developed by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premier metallurgical laboratory of DRDO at Hyderabad.

“This is a crucial technology for establishing self-reliance in aeroengine technology. With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aero engine components,” the statement said.

To meet the bulk production requirements, DMRL technology was transferred to the state-run MIDHANI through a licensing agreement for technology transfer.

Using the isothermal forge press facility available at DMRL, Hyderabad, bulk quantity of around 200 numbers of HPC disc forgings pertaining to various compressor stages have been jointly produced by DMRL and MIDHANI and successfully supplied to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (Engines) at Bengaluru for fitment in to Adour engine that powers the Jaguar and Hawk aircraft.

In India, the Adour engine is overhauled by HAL (E), Bengaluru under a licensed manufacturing agreement with the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Like in any aeroengine, the HPC Drum assembly has to be replaced after a specified number of operations or in case of damage.

The annual requirements of these high value HPC discs are quite large, warranting indigenisation. HPC drum is a highly stressed sub-assembly and is also subjected to low cycle fatigue and creep at elevated temperature.

The raw materials and forgings for HPC drum are required to be of the highest quality which can meet the specified combination of static and dynamic mechanical properties.

DMRL developed this forging technology by integrating various science and knowledge-based tools. The methodology adopted by DMRL is generic in nature and can be tuned to develop other similar aeroengine components.

The compressor discs produced using this methodology met all the requirements stipulated by the airworthiness agencies for the desired application. Accordingly, the technology was type certified and letter of technical approval (LoTA) was accorded.

Based on the exhaustive component level and performance evaluation test results, HAL (E) and Indian Air Force cleared the components for engine fitment. Apart from DMRL and HAL (E), various agencies such as MIDHANI, CEMILAC and DGAQA worked in unison to establish this crucial technology.

Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh has congratulated the scientists of DRDO, industry and all other agencies involved in the development of this critical aeroengine-related technology.

Department of Defence Research and Development Secretary and DRDO Chairman Dr G. Satheesh Reddy expressed his satisfaction on achieving this crucial milestone and congratulated the teams involved.

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