Update on AMCA: Navy in, IAF puts a number and DRDO working on final design
Just ahead of AeroIndia 2017, idrw.org has been briefed about some new bit of information on India’s 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet project from industrial sources. Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project currently pending for approval with PMO and MOD is likely to go official this year, with official sanction of funds.
ADA which has been tasked with designing AMCA is closing on its final design and two proposed designs are currently been pursued and ADA along with IAF are closely working on bringing out major stealth improvements on the design. Aero India 2017 might see upgraded AMCA model been showcased for the first time but the visual similarity with previous AMCA design will make it hard to do an actual comparison since updated AMCA design will have improvements, not major design changes.
Indian Navy has shown interest in funding and development of Naval Carrier based AMCA variant. Indian Navy which has worked closely with ADA on the development of Naval LCA is confident that same technology already developed can be adapted for AMCA. Navy is ready to deploy its own team to help ADA develop Naval AMCA independently customised as per Navy requirements. Indian Navy and ADA are likely to discuss funding and design feasibility this year. Naval AMCA will require hardening of the fuselage, reinforced undercarriage and new landing gear system for carrier-based operations. Naval AMCA will also require improvement in the field of vision from the cockpit for a Naval Pilot, which might lead to raised height. It is not clear if Navy wants Folding wings in Naval AMCA to reduce storage space, but Proposed nuclear-powered carrier INS Vishal will not have space constraint.
IAF puts a number
Initial requirements for AMCA currently been discussed between ADA and IAF is 115-120 aircraft to replace its current fleet of 60 Mig-29UPG and 50+ Mirage-2000 when they are up for retirement post-2030. IAF is clear that AMCA will replace all Medium class Combat jet in its current fleet but it is still an initial estimate since Indian Airforce also has 120 Jaguar Strike aircraft which all will be gone by 2030, which too requires replacement but Jaguar replacement might also come in the procurement of LCA-Tejas MK2.