A model of the Advanced Medium Stealth Combat Aircraft at Aero India 2021

While the TEJAS MK-1, MK-1A and MK-2 (Medium Weight Fighter) will bridge the gap needed to replenish much of the retiring fighter aircraft fleet currently in service, the IAF will need a futuristic platform to meet future requirements. Aerospace technology is progressing rapidly and so is nature of the threat. Instead of a specific platform that the IAF in future will face network-based high technology platforms ranging from advanced fourth generation to fifth generation aircraft, stealth unmanned platforms, long range surface to air missiles and future electronic warfare machines. To meet the fifth generation threat, the IAF will also need fifth generation fighters which is where the AMCA is going to play a very important role.

The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft or AMCA is an indigenous attempt to develop a fifth generation fighter aircraft, the most ambitious indigenous project which will reshape IAF. An initial amount of Rs 90 crore was allocated for the feasibility study, then sanction for the design phase accorded in December 2018 with an allocation of more than Rs 400 crore. It is reported the unmanned version also will be developed for the future. Five prototypes of AMCA will be developed in a proposed public-private joint venture.

Proposed Specifications of AMCA

Body conformed antennas
Flushed electro-optical sensors and stealth features
Maximum Take Off Weight of 25 tons
Internal fuel capability of 6.5 tons
Specially designed detachable fuel tanks compatible with the internal weapons bay
The internal bay will be able to carry four weapons
The non-stealth mode will feature 10 weapon stations
Diverterless supersonic intakes
Advanced active and passive sensors integrated with electronic warfare suite
Vehicle Monitoring System (IVHM), Serpentine Air Intake, Infrared Search and Track (IRST) and Missile Approach Warning System (MAWS)
MK-1 version will be equipped with two F-414-INS6 engines with 98 kN thrust, while MK-2 will be equipped with indigenous 110 kN engines developed with the help of a foreign collaborator

Taxi trials of the AMCA are aimed for 2024-25 with the first flight expected to be conducted by 2025-2026, entering into production by 2029. Series production of AMCA MK-2 version is expected to be by 2035. According to various reports, ADA are working on three different projects: TEJAS MK-2, AMCA and TEDBF for the Indian Navy. All prototypes are reported to be unveiled in 3-4 years and all will be airborne in 7-8 years.

The fourth largest air force in the world sees multiple challenges ahead. It must take necessary steps to maintain the dominance without facing economic strain. Pakistan is no more India’s primary concern and the focus must be shifted towards the largest advisory China. To combat the challenges procurement of foreign platforms can give India capability to conduct some crucial missions for some time, but it is only the indigenous platforms which can augment the strength needed for it. IAF to enter fifth generation era very soon. All the specifications mentioned above are based on reports or articles published till 6 January 2021. Aero India 2021 is likely to unveil some new specifications as well as changes.

Source & Courtesy: LiveFist, DDR & Onmanorama