The integration of the Kaveri engine into the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is an anticipated project, but it faces several challenges. The Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has approved limited flight trials with an older LCA-Tejas LSP aircraft using the Kaveri engine. However, several critical steps need to be completed.
One major requirement is the development of an afterburner module for the Kaveri engine. The engine, in its current dry form, lacks this component. Integration testing can't proceed until this module is ready, which is expected to be certified no earlier than 2026. Realistically, integration and trials are unlikely to commence before late 2027 or early 2028. The current Kaveri engine generates approximately 73-75kN of thrust, which falls short of replacing the Tejas' current engines producing 84.51kN of thrust. Nevertheless, the Kaveri engine integration program serves as a technology demonstrator.
The long-term goal is to develop engines in the 90-99kN class of thrust, potentially replacing engines in the Tejas Mk1A in the future. This project is part of a broader strategy to keep the Tejas technologically competitive in modern warfare scenarios.