The aircraft will roll out of the hangar within three-and-a-half years of the approval, and within a year after that, it will have its first flight. A model of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft was displayed at DefExpo-2022 held in Gujarat last week

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval for the indigenous Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) — the fifth-generation twin engine fighter aircraft being developed indigenously for the Indian Air Force — is expected any day, News18 has learnt.

Senior defence officials told News18 that the preliminary design review of the aircraft is over and an ambitious timeline of rolling it out by 2024 is being planned.

“The aircraft will roll out of the hangar within three-and-a-half years of the approval and within a year after that, it will have its first flight,” Dr AK Ghosh, project director of AMCA at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), said.

A model of the AMCA was displayed at DefExpo-2022 held in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar last week.

Ghosh said the AMCA MK-1 will fly on the existing 90kN class engine (GE414 engines from the US) and AMCA MK-2 will be powered by a stronger engine to be developed indigenously by GTRE in partnership with a foreign player.

India has not been able to successfully design and develop a jet engine for its TEJAS under the Kaveri programme which was sanctioned in 1989. Talks between India and France to conclude a deal for jointly developing a 125kN engine for the AMCA are at an advanced stage.

“Initially, the IAF has indicated that it requires seven squadrons of the AMCA. This can be increased in accordance to further requirement of the IAF,” he said.

When developed and inducted into the IAF, the AMCA will bring India into a select league of nations which have developed a fifth generation fighter. So far, only the US, Russia and China have developed such advanced jets — with the F-35 Lightning II, Sukhoi Su-57, J-20 Mighty Dragon in the category.

India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas is a 4.5-generation single-engine multirole aircraft.

Comparable To Global Fifth Gen Fighters

Ghosh said the AMCA will be comparable to other global fifth generation fighter jets such as American F-35 Lightning-II and the Su-57 aircraft of the United States, even as the latter is in the heavyweight category. The AMCA will be in the medium weight category, which comprises 25-tonne class aircraft.

The cost of the aircraft, he said, will be determined by the package of sensors and weapons the user (IAF) seeks to have in the aircraft.

The indigenous content of the aircraft will be 75% to begin with, but the aim is to take it to 85 to 90% eventually in the years to come. The complex design of the aircraft includes an inbuilt weapons bay.

“Very shortly, we are going to initiate the development of the aircraft, and start making the prototypes. It’s a big leap from a fourth generation aircraft.”