Monday 22 July 2019, 02:38 AM
India inching toward developing medium combat aircraft AMCA
By Sushil Sharma | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 5/8/2019 6:13:12 PM
India inching toward developing medium combat aircraft AMCA

India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has now gone deep into the detail design phase (DDP) which is expected to be completed by 2021. The AMCA will be a fifth generation stealth fighter jet and expected to form the principal.  

It will be built with a selected strategic partner. The foreign manufacturer who will win the bid for making the 110 fighter jets under the SP Model will be the obvious partner for the AMCA. The Request for Information (RFI) of the 110 jets has been issued and it mandates Transfer of Technology (ToT) to Indian partner. With  such a major move the foreign company would be the automatic choice for AMCA and will get due weightage.

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are now finding solutions to a number of next-generation technologies that need to be proven in the aircraft which promises to propel India into the next league. 

The project definition phase (PDP) has been done, the ADA , which also designed the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, is spearheading the AMCA mission. India’s home-grown fighter which started with the Tejas is now on an upswing. The Tejas Mark II is headed for its first flight in 2022.  The confidence in and lessons from LCA will act as a ready-reckoner.

As of now the AMCA will be powered by a US-origin GE F414 engine with a thrust of over 90kN. It will be an interim step till a higher-thrust engine of 110kN is finalised. The F414 engine, is also set to power the Tejas Mk-II. New Delhi is in talks with a foreign partner to develop an engine with a higher thrust.

The plan is to build four prototypes and fly the first one before 2025, which is six years from now.  The feasibility study for the AMCA began in 2009 with an initial funding of Rs 90 crore. In 2017, about Rs 400 crore were allocated for the detail design phase (DDP).DRDO displayed a scaled model of the AMCA audio-visual effects at Aero India 2019.

AMCA has been designed with multi-disciplinary approach. Various labs of the DRDO are doing R&D on materials, paints and structures. Separate studies are under way on flight control, avionics, aerodynamics, composite structure and general systems like brakes, hydraulics and fuels systems.The teams are also working on the super-cruise abilities that give aircraft capability to fly at supersonic speeds without the afterburner.

Passive sensors, internal weapon bay, advanced integrated avionics, next-generation active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, 360-degree enhanced situation awareness, integrated vehicle monitoring system (IVHM), serpentine air intake, infrared search and track (IRST), missile approach warning system (MAWS) and diverterless supersonic intake (DSI) are some of the features being claimed by Indian scientists that will make AMCA a powerful fighting machine.

The AMCA team is going on two major ways of making the plane stealthier. One is geometric stealth and other is material stealth. In geometric stealth, the shape of the aircraft is designed at such angles so as to deflect away maximum radar waves thereby minimising its radar cross section. In material stealth, radar-absorbing materials are used in making the aircraft which will absorb the radio waves thus reducing the radar footprint. The AMCA will initially be based on geometric stealth, we can look at material stealth at a later stage.

 

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India’s,Advanced,Medium,Combat,Aircraft,AMCA

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