India To Develop ‘Own’ 5th Generation Stealth Fighter

India plans to develop its own stealth fighter – the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) – with its first flight planned for around 2030 and production to begin a few years later.
There is also a proposal to develop a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) jointly with Russia. India has said that it will go in for the multi-billion dollar joint development and production of the FGFA with Russia only if there is full-scale transfer of technology. The South Asian powerhouse wants the partnership to directly help the indigenous AMCA project. As the two countries debate the modalities, New Delhi is yet to make a final announcement with regard to the FGFA project.
A senior Indian Defence Ministry official, who wished to remain anonymous, said over the weekend that the Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Aeronautical Development Agency were collaborating on the AMCA project. According to the official, the goal of the project is to fly first twin-engine AMCA prototype by 2030, which will be around the time deliveries of Tejas Mark-II fighters are underway.
The ministry official explained that India was going for the AMCA to build on the expertise gained in the long developmental saga of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA). The LCA project delivered its first two jets, of the Tejas Mark-I variant, over 30 years after it was approved in August 1983.
As far as the AMCA project is concerned, the Indian official said that the multi-role aircraft would be designed to replace Mirage 2000 fighter and Jaguar strike aircraft in the IAF from 2030. The 25-tonne aircraft, with two-hour endurance, is intended to fly supersonically without afterburning. Its avionics will include an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, infrared search and track system, and situational awareness sensors.
The official claimed that shape of the AMCA would offer efficient supersonic flight and better handling at subsonic speeds needed for ground-attack role. He further explained the fuselage or the main body of the aircraft, saying that the 5th generation stealth fighter would have the faceted design and blended wing-body. The jet will also have twin turbofans with thrust-vectoring so that the aircraft can manipulate the direction of the thrust from its engines in order to control its attitude or angular velocity in a better way. There will be canted twin fans in its tail too. The official believes that the radar-absorbing paint and composites will give the jet an extra edge during war.
The serpentine ducts will help the jet block direct line of sight to engine fan blades, hiding them from incoming radar. Moreover, the trapezoidal wing (a straight-edged and tapered wing planform) or aligned edges will allow the fighter jet to improve its stealth characteristics by deflecting radar waves in different directions. Apart from having an external fuel tank, the aircraft will also have an internal weapons bay that will maintain stealthy configuration-capacity for four missiles or bombs. It will also carry weapons and non-stealth payload below the fuselage and on three hard points under each wing.
Defence experts have classified status of the AMCA project as ‘promising’. They are of the opinion that AMCA will certainly help the IAF boost its strength in the coming years.


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