The naval prototype of India’s Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) made its first test flight on April 27. Already delayed by four years, the program still faces design concerns, including weight. Strengthening of the rear airframe for carrier operations, and the addition of an arrestor hook, has made the aircraft about 1,000 pounds overweight.
General Electric F404
Singapore-based MRO provider ST Aerospace, one of the world’s largest MRO providers, announced that it finished out 2011 on a high note, securing $350 million in new contracts for the fourth quarter alone. The firm’s aircraft maintenance and modification group reported deals involving base and heavy maintenance, interior refurbishments and conversions of passenger aircraft to cargo-hauling configuration. By the end of the quarter, ST Aerospace (Booth G01) redelivered 101 aircraft for airframe-related maintenance and modification work, including converting five Boeing 757-200 freighters for FedEx Express.
Volvo Aero has launched the Volvo Life Tracking System for “accurately calculating usage of critical engine components.” The product is designed primarily for Volvo Aero’s RM12 engine, which powers the Saab Gripen multi-role fighter.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) selected the General Electric F414 turbofan engine to power the second batch of indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA), also known as the Tejas. GE’s bid was lower than that of rival contender Eurojet for supply of the EJ200, the DRDO said. The American company previously supplied 41 F404 engines to power the development and initial production LCA Mk Is.
Among the most eagerly awaited show participants listed in pre-Paris releases was the HAL Tejas–India’s Light Combat Aircraft. Two were originally on the list, of which one was due to fly in the air display. However, a new urgency has descended on the program, and the aircraft could not be spared from test flights.
Volvo Aero has delivered a number of post-certification enhancements to the RM12 twin turboshaft engine that powers the Saab Gripen. Some of these have been adopted by General Electric, whose F404 was adapted by Volvo for the single-engine Swedish fighter. The company said further improvements are possible, although its main emphasis is on developing lighter weight components for commercial airliner powerplants.