Indian start-up launches development of prototype cruise missile aircraft engine


New Delhi: Good news for the Indian defense sector, a private start-up is preparing to develop a native engine to power larger cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which could end the country’s reliance on foreign companies.

Paninian India Private Limited, headquartered in Hyderabad, has completed the “proof of concept” of its 4.5 KN turbojet engine and development of the prototype has begun.

“We don’t reverse engineer, but we create an entire family of aero engines that will be able to power everything from cruise missiles to large UAVs,” Paninian founder Raghu Adla told ThePrint.

The engine is further developed in a new family in the range of 3-12 kilonewtons (kN) thrust, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) augmented digital twin companions.

The AI-augmented digital twins are intended for legacy engine performance modeling and prognostics to support mission performance and life extension efforts of aircraft like Jaguar, Sukhoi and Mirage 2000. the Indian Air Force.

“This can now serve as a tool to study the extension of motors and greatly help the IAF and CEMILAC [Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification] in their study of performance degradation,” said Adla, a first-generation entrepreneur.

Such digital twins required for peak prognostics, engine health and performance monitoring were completely designed from scratch in the country by Indian engineers, he said, adding that India can extend engine life locally and precisely without resorting to foreign aid.

While Paninin has begun to set up a real test bed for its engine, the plan ahead is for individual engine parts to undergo 2,000 hours of testing at the National Aerospace Laboratory.

Adla decided to work on the project after the Balakot strike in 2019 and the subsequent skirmish between Indian and Pakistani air forces.

For the start-up, he hired Gantayata Gouda, a former senior scientist and program manager at DRDO, along with others who have worked in propulsion and structural engineering with the world’s major engine manufacturers like General Electrics and Rolls Royce.

Adla stressed the need for the public sector to support these start-up efforts by providing grants and access to labs to address difficulties encountered when releasing an Indian-sourced jet engine.

He added that Paninian is looking for potential collaborations from public and private actors to help further scale up efforts to successfully bring this to end users as soon as possible.

This innovation could go a long way in the “Make in India” program to make the country “Atma Nirbhar” in the strategic field of aero engines, he said.

Incidentally, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is working on an aircraft engine in the The 4.5 kN class, which industry sources say is reverse engineered from the Russian NPO Saturn 36 MT engine used by India.

Industry experts, however, said the DRDO effort is not scalable or modular to create an engine family.

(Editing by Tony Rai)

Read also : ‘Major milestone’: India conducts first flight of unmanned aircraft demonstrator

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