Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the premier design house in the country handling multiple fighter aircraft development programs. The ADA was established in the mid-1980s as a nodal organisation for combat aircraft development, since when it has synergised and developed strategic capabilities in various disciplines with identified partners for realising a range of advanced technologies and final products for users.

Tejas LCA is the premier program undertaken by ADA having achieved Full Operational Clearance in February 2019. The TEJAS Mk.I has been inducted in IOC configuration into the IAF, with the first squadron (No.45 Flying Daggers) formed at Sulur in Tamil Nadu.

The Light Combat Aircraft is powered a single engine, has compound delta wing, relaxed static stability and advanced digital fly-by-wire control system, making it an agile war machine being the smallest multi-role all-weather supersonic fighter in its class. The fly-by-wire flight control system enables excellent handling qualities, making it a pilot`s delight. Its advanced glass cockpit enhances situational awareness and aids the pilot for decision support in all missions. The aircraft is equipped with computerised utility management system and Health & usage monitoring system for eases of maintenance.

The TEJAS Navy Mk.I program has completed more than 300 flights including 43 day and 2 night ski-ramp launches and 27 day and 1 night arrested landings at the SBTF. Carrier Integration has been proven with successful operations from the flight deck of INS Vikramaditya, a total of 18 arrested landings and 18 ski-ramp take offs carried out from INS Vikramaditya in 5 days.

The TEJAS Navy Mark 2 is planned to be a single engine fighter with higher thrust engine, increased internal fuel and improved weapon carrying capability, with enhanced mission performance and better maintainability. However, as per requirement of the Indian Navy, this program will be converted to being a twin engine deck based fighter (TEDBF), and studies have been initiated at the ADA.

The TEJAS Mk.II for the Air Force was initially planned to have a higher thrust engine. However, in its new configuration it is no more a light combat aircraft but will be a Medium Weight Fighter (MWF). This evolution of the MWF began with the IAF projecting a platform to replace the Mirage 2000, Jaguar and MiG-29 in the 2030s. The IAF wanted a multi-role fighter with improved range, endurance, lethality and increased payload carrying capacity. Based on these requirements, configuration optimisation studies were initiated by ADA in November 2016, a configuration with improved performance and increased internal fuel has this evolved. Subsequently, the IAF also indicated their requirement for integrating heavier standoff weapons. The final configuration was agreed to in September 2018 to meet these capabilities. The Mk.II (MWF) will be state-of-the-art multi role supersonic fighter aircraft with delta wing and close coupled canard, having an enhanced payload capability of 6.5 tons with max all up weight of 17500 kg. The MWF will have 11 hard points and is integrated with advanced avionics system and sensors including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Integral Unified Electronic Warfare Suite (UEWS), Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS) and Infrared Search & Track (IRST) System. Its range and endurance will be enhanced by an On-Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS) and In-flight Refuelling Probe (IFRP). The cockpit will have larger size, smart Large Area Display (LAD) and smart Head Up Display (HUD) to provide enhanced situational awareness.

Preliminary design of the MWF is at the final stages of completion and detail design activities are to begin from March 2020. The procurement of raw material and LRUs has been initiated and development activities towards new LRUs initiated. The engineering cockpit simulator of the MWF was on display at DefExpo 2020, with a Large Area Display (LAD), sleek Head Up Display (HUD) and side control stick. The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be a fifth generation, multi role combat aircraft with state-of-the-art technologies, under design and development at the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

The AMCA will be a twin engine stealth fighter, its balanced design having trade-off between aerodynamics, stealth and structure for achieving high endurance levels. Enhanced survivability will be provided by the stealth factor and electronic warfare capabilities: “AMCA will be a jewel with the Indian armed forces”. AMCA design will have stealth features including its air frame, internal weapon bay, serpentine air-intake and conformal antennae. It will have advanced integrated avionics, integrated vehicle health management and net centric warfare capability. These indigenous fighter development programmes are proceeding with high impetus at ADA, the organisation’s aim being to provide the entire fighter aircraft fleet of the IAF by 2035.

Courtesy: Aeronautical Development Agency