Sameer V Kamat was recently appointed as the Secretary DDR&D and Chairman of DRDO. He has been driving some of the most critical projects in field of Naval Systems and Materials Division of DRDO

ADA has completed the fabrication of AMCA at HAL with special material for 5th gen design. What is the next stage of development as Project is still waiting for final approval from the cabinet committee? What is the estimated cost that you look at and how will it unfold under the SPV mechanism which you earlier talked about? DRDO Chief Sammer V Kamat answered to these questions in a recent interview FE.

Fabrication of AMCA has not been done yet. However, the preliminary design has been finalized. Design phase of AMCA is proceeding well by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) team. However, the actual activity of prototype realization would begin after final approval of the Government, he stated.

AMCA program will be undertaken through SPV involving Indian industries in a big way. The SPV would be involved in the prototype development, series production and providing life time/cycle support to the Indian Air Force.

AMCA development would be a major compliance to budget announcement of 2022-23 with respect to 25 per cent R&D budget allocation to industry and encouraging private industries to collaborate with DRDO through SPV model.

In March 2022, The DRDO reportedly used in-house technologies to construct a multi-story flight control centre at its Bangalore-based lab, Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), in a record 45 days.

The seven-story structure will house research and development facilities for the Indian Air Force’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). It would have a plinth area of 1.3 lakh square feet.

The ADE had previously registered success with Tejas avionics and has been credited with the successful development of many other military assets.

Milestone Achieved

In another milestone event, DRDO recently took to Twitter to announce the proverbial ‘metal cutting’ for the first prototype of India’s next-generation fighter jet, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

The official handle of DRDO tweeted: “Based on the design by ADA & DRDO, the fabrication of Leading edge of AMCA initiated at HAL with special material for 5th gen design. The unit will undergo structural & other testing before putting it on the first prototype. An imp milestone for AMCA.”

This is a big foundational landmark in India’s most ambitious indigenous weapons program, that for the development of a 5.5 Generation fighter aircraft which will be the mainstay of the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s combat power in the decades ahead.

Notwithstanding the initial landmark, the Critical Design Review (CDR) of the AMCA is still pending. That is targeted for later this year. The rollout of the first prototype is scheduled for 2023-24. The configuration for the jet was frozen after the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) in December 2020. 

DRDO’s ADA has planned to build five AMCA prototypes for the development process and flight testing. The first flight is planned for 2024-25 and series production is slated to begin in 2030, although the development agency is confident about compressing the timeframe to 2028-29 after four years of flight testing.