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Defence Experts Urged the Indian Government to Make Aero Engines in India for Self-Reliance

The Kaveri engine went through several tests on ground and mid-air in India and Russia

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Defence, India, Aero Engines
The government and the industry should jointly design and develop aero gas turbine engines to make them in India for military and civil aircraft. Pixabay

Defence experts, including aerospace scientists and engineers, on Thursday urged the Indian government and industry to step up indigenous design and development of aero gas turbine engines for self-reliance in production of military and civil aircraft.

“The government and the industry should jointly design and develop aero gas turbine engines to make them in India for military and civil aircraft, which has huge potential,” defence expert and former military aviation regulator K. Tamilmani told reporters here.

The city-based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), took over three decades to design and develop the Kaveri aero engineer for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, but it could not be used for want of the required thrust and overweight.

“The Kaveri engine went through several tests on ground and mid-air in India and Russia for airworthiness. It was also flown in 2010 about 70 hours on board an Il-76 for high-altitude and speed tests. As the tests failed to meet the required parameters to fit into the LCA, General Electric (F404-GE) engines are used for the Tejas fleet,” former GTRE Director T. Moharao told IANS here.

Defence, India, Aero Engines
Defence experts, including aerospace scientists and engineers, on Thursday urged the Indian government and industry to step up indigenous design and development of aero gas turbine engines. Pixabay

Engines are the heart of any aircraft, and their making is a complex technology, which is protectively owned by just 5 countries – the US, Britain, Canada, France and Russia.

US sanctions in the aftermath of the May 1998 Pokhran nuclear test forced India to go for indigenous development of jet engines for the LCA project and achieve self-reliance.

“GTRE had tied up with French aero engine maker Snecma for completing the Kaveri project development with its know-how. As an offset of the Rafale fighters deal, we hope Snecma will help us in making Kaveri air worthy for LCA and other indigenous aircraft, as it is a part of Rafale maker Dassault Aviation consortium in France,” a former HAL executive told IANS.

Though the city-based state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been making aero engines under license with Russian aerospace majors for its MiG-21 and Sukhoi-30 fighters, with Britain’s Rolls Royce for Jaguars and advanced jet trainer (AJT) Hawk and Shakti aero engines for its advanced light helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, it did not design and develop jet engines for fighters.

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“As the requirements for aero engines in military and civil aircraft will be in thousands in the coming years, the government and industry should make its development a national mission for self-reliance and air prowess,” former GTRE director C. Kalaivanan said.

For reviving the Kaveri aero engine project, in which the government had already invested a whopping Rs 2,000 crore and create interest in the design and development of indigenous aero gas turbine engines, the Society for Advancement of Aerospace Propulsion (SAAP) and the Aeronautical Society of India (ASI) is holding a day-long national workshop the issue here on June 22.

Top defence scientists and technocrats, including former LCA project director Kota Harinarayan, former HAL chairman Krishnadas Nair and others will share their expertise with their counterparts in design agencies. (IANS)

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

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“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)