In a major technological breakthrough, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday said it has developed single crystal blade technology and supplied 60 of such blades to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as part of their indigenous helicopter development programme for helicopter engine application.
“It is part of a programme taken up by the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a laboratory of the DRDO, to develop five sets, 300 in number, of single crystal high pressure turbine (HPT) blades using a nickel-based super alloy,” the DRDO said in a statement. The supply of the other four sets would be completed in due course, it said.
Very few countries such as the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia have the capability to design and manufacture such single crystal components, it said. The DRDO has been working for a long time to develop this technology which is a critical component in aero engines.
Helicopters need compact and powerful aero-engines for operating at extreme conditions and to achieve this, state-of-the-art single crystal blades having complex shape and geometry, manufactured out of nickel-based super alloys capable of withstanding high temperatures of operation are used.