Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has completed extreme cold weather trials on ligh combat aircraft (LCA) – Tejas at Leh, in Ladakh in January this year.
“The aircraft made three consecutive starts using indigenous gas turbine starter at minus 15 degrees Celsius with 85 per cent charged battery a few days ago. Prior to the start, the aircraft was cold soaked for 18-20 hours (even 42 hours on one occasion) outside the hangar in Leh and no heating source was used for starting,” T Suvarna Raju, Chairman, HAL, said in a release.
A team of 15 engineers and technicians from HAL worked to solve the problems faced in starting a gas turbine engine in the ratified and cold atmospheres of Leh. The gas turbine starter unit of HAL used to start the engine for the LCA has been designed, developed and manufactured by HAL’s aero engine R&D centre and Aero Engine Research and Design Centre (AERDC). The first success was the rig trials with a modified starting schedule conducted at Leh (3,260 m altitude) in July and August 2014. During this period, HAL also demonstrated the start capability of its starter even at a high altitude of 5.6 km, the statement added.