Engine handling trolleys for a combat aircraft

The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is being developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore. We designed equipment to 'handle' its Jet engine in three operational environments - airfield, aircraft hangar, and on an aircraft carrier.

Aeronautical equipment by Kiba Design
Engine handling trolley - Airfield - by Kiba Design

Building capability for the defence sector

As part of a project in 2002, three trolleys were designed to 'handle' the jet engine of the Light Combat Aircraft during Installation/ Removal, Storage and Maintenance operations.

Engine handling trolley - Aircraft hangar - by Kiba Design

Primary Design challenge

The primary design objective was to have the ability to transfer the jet engine from one trolley to the other without needing to use a Gantry crane to lift the engine - an ability that is invaluable in operations as it enables the support crew to service aircraft anywhere on the airfield, instead of having to first bring them into the maintenance hangar.

Engine handling trolley - Aircraft carrier - by Kiba Design

Secondary design challenge

A crucial secondary design objective was to design the equipment to be field-repairable using the most basic tools and materials available. The trolley for Aircraft carrier use was designed to be structurally strong and light enough to be picked up by two men and hoisted onto a storage rack on the wall, freeing up valuable floor space.

Capability-building innovation: Delivered

  • We not only achieved both the design objectives, but also designed the equipment using standard components and easily available raw material, so it can be produced in workshops locally, removing the reliance on any single supplier for the equipment and spare parts.

  • The capability for field servicing a Jet engine was a world-first at the time, and we are proud to have delivered design innovation to the Indian Defence Industry and for facilitating the indigenization of defence equipment.

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