October 6, 2022

DRDO develops critical near isothermal forging technology for aeroengines

New Delhi. Crucial for establishing self-reliance in aeroengine technology, 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.

The technology has been developed by Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premier metallurgical laboratory of DRDO in Hyderabad. With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aeroengine components.

To meet the bulk production requirements, DMRL technology was transferred to M/s MIDHANI through a licensing agreement for transfer of technology (LAToT). Using the isothermal forge press facility available at DMRL, Hyderabad, bulk quantity (200 numbers) of HPC disc forgings pertaining to various compressor stages have been jointly (DMRL & MIDHANI) produced and successfully supplied to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (E), Bengaluru for fitment into Adour engine that powers the Jaguar/Hawk aircraft.

In India, the Adour engine is overhauled by HAL (E), Bengaluru under a licensed manufacturing agreement with original equipment manufacturer (OEM). 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 (IAF) 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.

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

Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy has also expressed his satisfaction on achieving this crucial milestone and congratulated the teams involved.

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