India’s Fifth Generation Aircraft: AMCA

What is AMCA?

The full form is Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft. Its national origin is India.

Its main role will be as a stealth multirole fighter, the manufacturer is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and its main users will be the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy, and it will be a single-seat, twin-engine and multi-purpose stealth fighter jet to serve in all weather conditions.

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Details on AMCA

The HAL AMCA /Advanced Medium Fighter Aircraft is a program by India to develop a fifth-generation advance fighter aircraft. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), in conjunction with the Aircraft Research and Design Center (ARDC), is responsible for the design of the combat aircraft, while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be the main contractor. responsible for assembly. Various other companies in the private and public sectors are expected to contribute to the program.

The Avionics and Sensors to be used will be of 6th Generation for which deals are to be conducted.

The Aircraft will be loaded with Laser Weapons.
The Engines to be used may be between 120 N Class to 140 N Class.

There will be two versions of AMCA :

AMCA MK 1- This will be a 5th Generation Aircraft

AMCA MK 2- This will be a 5.5th or almost a 6th Generation Aircraft.

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AMCA India

Main Features

EngineTwin
Crew1
Length/Width/Height17.2 m/ 39.9 m/ 4.8 m
Weight11,000 kg
Payload7,000 kg
Fuel capacity6500 kg
Power2 x indecisive turbojet(120 N-140N)

Performance

SpeedMach 1.8- Mach 2
Range3240 km
Combat range1620 km

Armament

Gun23mm GSh-23 gun
Hardpoints14 with a capacity of around 9 ton
RocketsS-8 rocket pods (expected), Air-to-air missiles,
Astra IR, Astra mark 1, Astra mark 2,
Astra mark 3, Air-to-ground missiles,
BrahMos NG, HEALTH, NGARM
BombsLaser Guided Bomb, NG-LGB, Precision guided ammunition,
HSLD-250/450/500, DRDO SAAW, DRDO slip bombs

Need for AMCA

The Indian AMCA program, which emerged from the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) program, was launched to meet several requirements of a common fighter to replace different types of existing combat aircraft, including the Dassault Mirage 2000 and the SEPECAT Jaguar.

HAL AMCA progress

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HAL AMCA Prototype

Feasibility study and preliminary design phase of AMCA have been completed, and the project entered the detailed design phase in February 2019. A total of four HAL AMCA prototype are initially planned, and the first flight is expected in 2025 or more. 2026. Production is expected to begin. in 2029.

The conceptual design of the AMCA was carried out until 2015 but completed at the end of 2019 ADA, in consultation with the IAF, froze the design of the AMCA by June 2020 with a first flight scheduled for 2024. The first flight test of the prototype aircraft was scheduled to take place by 2017 but was ultimately delayed. The aircraft is classified in the 25-ton category.

The program is expected to be a public-private partnership and will cost( according to 2019) the development phase of the prototype which requires between ₹ 7,000-8,000 crore in a decade. The aircraft concept was finalized and presented to the Indian Air Force in 2012, after which the full-scale project development was initiated. The Technology and Manufacturing Development Phase (ETMD) began on January 7, 2014. Engine development on the K 9 and K 10 began in August 2012 by GTRE.

ENGINE

DRDO has conducted trail on F 414 IM-9 engines but they are not satisfied with its performance. It dosen’t match the standards of 5th generation Aircraft as its heating rate is much higher than expected.

So now DRDO may try F 414 IM-6 engines which are to be developed with Joint ventures with other Nations. But everything depends upon the cost of the development project.
After the failure of old Kaveri Engine, there are also expectations for developing a new Version of India’s Indigenous Kaveri Engin.

HAL AMCA Latest news

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A CAD model of the aircraft was presented at Aero India 2019. AMCA is said to be unveiled in 2024. A total of four prototypes are initially planned, and the first flight is scheduled for 2025 or 2026. Production is expected to start in 2029.

Why some 4th generation fighter aircraft program costs more than INDIA AMCA program?

India always tries to make a better product at low costs. We have seen the success of ISRO in a various mission like Mangalyaan and Chandrayan which have costed a part of that of NASA cost.

HAL is using indigenously made in India K9-K10 engines which costs almost half of other jet engines and more reliable than them. Other body parts are also indigenously made in India like radar and weapons. So the single unit of HAL AMCA will cost $80-90 million whereas the cost of a most advanced 4th generation fighter aircraft like F35, F22 and Rafael is around $90-150 million for each unit, although there are no criteria for technology transfer. If it is done then it may cost more than $150 million.

Russian 5th and 4th generation aircraft programs are cheaper (nearly $ 50 million for each unit)but it also sells its aircraft to other rival nations like China and Turkey so there will be no technical advantage over them and there is no assurance of technology transfer. Also, technology transfer may cost more than $80 million. Also, India will not be free to sell these aircraft without Russian permission.

So it’s better to develop our own Aircraft program with indigenous technology instead of joining hands with other 4th and 5th generation fighter aircraft development program with other nations or purchasing Aircraft from other nations.

HAL AMCA VS F22 VS F35

AMCA will not be a dedicated air superiority fighter like the F-22. Rather, it is an F-35 in its purpose and role. Both are multi-role. Also, AMCA and F-35 are medium weight while the F-22 is heavy. The F-22 is an advanced fighter and India has just started the development of its own advanced jet. The F-22 is top-secret technology and the United States hasn’t even exported it to anyone, even NATO allies.

DRDO AMCA will be a mix of the best 4.5 / 5/5 + gen features from various origins packed into a custom mid-size platform for India. But, as with 5th gen technology, there is no prior user experience, things will be based on technology speculation rather than hands-on experience. By the time the United States started working on 5th generation fighters (the early 1980s), it had approximately 60 years of warplane development experience with two world wars. The United States also developed stealth planes before the F-22. India has about 30 years of experience in modern fighter development and has no previous experience with stealth technology.

AMCA advanced features which make it as better as F22

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AMCA Fighter

HAL AMCA has incorporated the latest avionics suite which includes, helmet-mounted display,AESA radar, integrated avionics systems, data link capabilities, IRST, E / O Targeting System (EOTS), ECM suite, Laser countermeasures against infrared missiles, IRST for airborne targets, (MIRES)Multifunctional Integrated Radio Electronic System, UV warning sensors and targeting pod. Overall, the AMCA resembles an F-22 with a faceted shape constituting the fuselage.

Indian 6th generation fighter Aircraft

AMCA MK2 will be a 5.5th generation Fighter but further in future, it could also be developed as a 6th generation Aircraft. The Avionics and Sensors to be used will be of 6th Generation for which deals are to be conducted. The Aircraft will be loaded with Laser Weapons.

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