Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
NEW DELHI — Rivals Honeywell and Rolls-Royce are trading public barbs as they await the delayed request for proposals to re-engine India’s fleet of 120 twin-engine Jaguar fighters, which have slowly become overweight and underpowered as a result of avionics and weapon systems upgrades.
Honeywell says its F125IN engine enables 23% shorter high-hot takeoffs,17%-40% higher thrust and 36% greater fuel range than the Rolls-Royce engine currently powering the Jaguar.
A fatigue analysis done by the Indian air force estimates the fleet could last another 25 years.
Honeywell projects savings of $1.5 billion in lifecycle costs the life of the program with its engine, according to Pritam Bhavnani, recently appointed president for Honeywell Aerospace India.
Comparing the F125 to the current Rolls-Royce Adour, Bhavnani says that Rolls-Royce “has yet to develop some aspects of the Adour Mk821... Our engine is a known one and been in production for awhile.”
“The Rolls-Royce Adour Mk821 will provide the proven … lowest-risk solution for certification, production, transition and operational phases,” a Rolls-Royce spokesman says. “It also provides economies of scale with the Hawk AJT [Advanced Jet Trainer] engine, already manufactured in India.”
Honeywell says certification is required for any engine and once the Indian air force puts its program into place, engines might need modifications “to resolve any issue” uncovered by flight testing. If there are no changes, Bhavnani anticipates 3-4 years from the order to the start of deliveries.
Rolls-Royce says the Adour Mk821 engine “requires no airframe development,therefore Rolls-Royce offers the fastest and most cost-effective solution... It is the only low-risk option.”
Both engines were tested in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) facility in Bengaluru.
Honeywell and HAL have been collaborating to produce the TPE331 engine that powers the HAL-built Dornier 228 aircraft, for which an agreement was signed in 2008 to have the engine produced by HAL, making it the first aerospace engine to be fully manufactured in India for the world market.
The project is being undertaken in a phased approach. Honeywell already has transferred 200 components to HAL. Phase two is being looked at now and the final manufacturing phase will take another year, Bhavnani says.
- Neelam Mathews