Indigenous AMCA stealth project to launch in 2022
India -2022 is the set timer for India’s ambitious indigenous military aviation project that will see the building of fifth-generation fighter jets or AMCA (advanced medium combat aircraft) that will be adorned with advanced stealth features along with supercruise abilities.
Experts note that the production of these fifth-generation jets is an extremely complex and expensive project. At present, the only operational fifth-generation jets in the world are America’s F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning-II Joint Strike Fighter, China’s Chengdu J-20, and Russia’s Sukhoi-57. According to experts, Chengdu J-20 and Sukhoi-57 are still short of being included in the fifth generation category fighters.
Furthermore, the 36 Rafale jets inducted by IAF (Indian Air Force) in its fleet are 4.5 generation fighter jets.
Top sources revealed that complete engineering development of AMCA prototypes having two engines has concluded, and is scheduled to be sent to CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) by the beginning of next year for approval.
AMCA production project holds highly critical value for IAF as it is currently barely managing with 30-32 fighter jets. Experts fear that it might take 10-15 years for the fleet to reach its sanctioned number of 42 squadrons.
The developmental cost of AMCAs, the 25-tonne jets, is estimated to come around Rs 15,000 crore. The rollout of first prototypes is expected to be by 2025-26. By 2030-31, the production of Mark-1 jets is projected to begin – quite an aggressive timeline set by DRDO.
The advanced AMCA will have stealth features like “serpentine air intake” and “internal bay for smart weapons to radar absorbing materials and conformal antenna”. Additionally, the supercruise capabilities of the fighter will enable it to achieve supersonic cruise speeds.
Currently, the interim plan includes the induction of 73 Tejas Mark-1A fighters and 10 trainers, estimated to be delivered during the timeframe 2024-2028. Furthermore, the Make in India project to make 114 new 4.5 generation jets is also to get initial acceptance next year.