India’s state-owned aerospace & defence firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has started manufacturing India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in association with DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency.

The AMCA program entered a crucial phase with the starting of manufacturing activities. It is noteworthy that, the plan envisages to equip the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy with a 5.5 Generation twin-engine stealth fighter.

Inside The Design & Development

While the design and development will be carried out by HAL and ADA, private defence firms will also be roped in to manufacture the combat jet. The advanced stealth aircraft will be a multirole fighter capable of carrying out air superiority, ground strike, suppression of enemy air defences and electronic warfare missions.

Notably, the first two squadrons in AMCA MK-1 configuration will be powered by an imported engine, another five squadrons with advanced features (Mark 2) will use made-in-India 125-kilonewton engines along with 6th Generation technologies.

It is important to note that the new engine for the fighter will be jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Safran of France.

The advanced stealth aircraft will bolster India’s air arsenal by enhancing air superiority. Further, the naval version of aircraft will become the primary combat jet operating from the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.

Apart from stealth features, the advanced aircraft will encompass three-dimensional thrust vectoring, made-in-India Uttam active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and internal weapons bay to bolster the stealth capabilities of the aircraft.

AMCA can clock a maximum speed of over 2,600 kilometres per hour (Mach 2.15), along with the combat range of 1,620 km. The fighter will be equipped with 23 mm cannon and will have 14 hardpoints in non-stealth version to carry armaments weighing 6,500 kgs.

Presently, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is in process of manufacturing MK-2 version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) TEJAS along with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), as well as the AMCA and the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), for the Indian Navy

Addressing the media, Girish S Deodhare, Director General of ADA stated, “The configuration has been frozen, Preliminary Service Quality Requirements (PSQR) are finalised and the preliminary design review is complete. The Critical Design Review (CDR) is expected later this year with the rollout planned in 2024 and first flight planned in 2025.”