The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is an Indian programme to develop a fifth-generation stealth, multirole, air superiority fighter for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy which will also include sixth-generation technologies. The design of the aircraft is carried out by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an aircraft design and development agency constituted under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It is expected to be produced by a public-private joint venture between the DRDO, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and an Indian private company. The development cost is estimated to be around ₹15,000 crore (~$2 billion).
AMCA will be a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft. The AMCA Mark 1 will come equipped with 5.5 generation technologies and Mark 2 will have the incremental 6th generation technology upgrades. The AMCA which is intended to perform a multitude of missions including Air supremacy, Ground-Strike, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and Electronic Warfare (EW) missions would be a potent replacement for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI air superiority fighter, which forms the backbone of the IAF fighter fleet. The AMCA design is optimised for low radar cross section and supercruise capability. Feasibility study on AMCA and the preliminary design stage have been completed, and the project entered the detailed design phase in February 2019. A CAD model of the aircraft was shown at Aero India 2019. The first flight is expected to be by 2024-25 and serial production might begin by 2030. The AMCA is currently the only 5th generation fighter under development in India, expected to get Ministry of Defence approval in 2022. The aircraft, along with its naval variant, is intended to provide the bulk of the manned tactical airpower of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy over the coming decades.
The AMCA programme, earlier known as Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) programme, was initiated to develop a twin engine fighter which incorporates stealth features to replace the main strike fighters of IAF viz Mirage 2000 and SEPECAT Jaguar. In 2010, the MCA programme was rechristened as Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme and a detailed feasibility study was launched by ADA. Although MCA was envisioned as a 15-tonne class fighter, the IAF's Air Staff requirements (ASR) for the AMCA, issued in April 2010 placed the now rechristened aircraft in the 25-tonne category. In October 2010, the Government of India allocated ₹100 crore to prepare feasibility studies in 18 months. In 2013, a review committee was formed, which on the feasibility study report recommended initiating the next phase of the programme.
The Project Definition and Preliminary Design phase of AMCA began in 2013. From November 2013 to December 2014, 9 configurations of AMCA, starting from 3B-01 to 3B-09, were studied using CAD, low speed - high speed wind tunnel testing and radar cross section (RCS) testing and eventually by the end of 2014, configuration 3B-09 was chosen. In 2015, basic design configuration of AMCA was finalized and a detailed AMCA programme report was submitted to the IAF, which after review gave concurrence to the programme. The AMCA design after considerable refinements, has been accepted by IAF in 2016. The Project definition phase was completed by 2017. On 4 April 2018, Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to the Lok Sabha confirmed that the feasibility study for the AMCA programme has been completed and the programme would be completed in two phases viz, technology demonstration phase and full scale engineering development phase. The Detailed Design Phase of AMCA has commenced in 2018, as part of the phase, a full-scale model of AMCA will be developed for testing stealth features. The ADA is expecting to get government approval for the AMCA programme by the second quarter of 2021. ₹15,000 crore will be sanctioned for the program soon as per the latest reports. The first prototype of AMCA is expected to be rolled out by 2025–26.
The current plan is to procure 7 squadrons of AMCA initially, first two squadrons in Mark 1 configuration, equipped with an imported engine and the remaining five squadrons in Mark 2 configuration, equipped with an uprated indigenous engine. The Mark 2 of AMCA would also incorporate sixth generation features and technologies to stay relevant in the coming decades.
In 2015, 700 ADA employees were working on the project along with 2,000 employees of DRDO and 1,000 employees of HAL supported by over 500 employees of subcontractors of both Indian and foreign firms.
Work on various technologies was carried out by multiple establishments of DRDO, ADA and HAL which included stealth, engine, three-dimensional thrust vectoring, AESA radar, internal weapons bay, serpentine air intakes and all other major avionics. According to Deputy Air Marshall Sinha "To provide adequate time to Indian industries to develop required capabilities, the armed forces will soon come out with a list of technologies of interest... underlining that these efforts are expected to synergise indigenous development of advanced aerospace systems." In 2015, as part of the Indian MRCA competition, Saab AB made an offer for participating in the AMCA programme.
In 2021, Mishra Dhatu Nigam (MIDHANI) started supplying titanium alloy for airframe construction. Till August 5, 2021 five slabs of titanium alloy were already supplied to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The production of the alloy was done through the same technology, first developed by MIDHANI for crew escape system of Gaganyaan programme. HAL is planning to rollout first AMCA Mark 1 from the assembly line by 2027 which will form the first phase of production. From the second phase, integration of sixth generation technologies by DRDO will take place on Mark 2 variant.
In an interview to The Financial Express on 22 October 2021, Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari confirmed that IAF is looking forward to AMCA aiming at sixth generation technologies. IAF is planning for two squadron of Mark 1 and five squadron of Mark 2 variant. There is also plan for a light combat aircraft variant of AMCA in future. Ongoing consultation happened in November 2021 between IAF, HAL, DRDO, ADA, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance as final design of AMCA prototype is getting ready for approval from Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). ADA is expecting CCS approval for AMCA in 2022.
On 17 March 2022, DRDO completed the construction of a 7 story building housing the research and development facilities for avionics and flight control system (FCS) of AMCA at Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) Bengaluru. Bharat Electronics (BEL) is working with ADE and ADA to develop Digital Flight Control Computers (DFCC) for AMCA.
On 13 July 2022, HAL launched the Metal Cutting for Titanium Bulkhead of AMCA as part of technology development at Aircraft Manufacturing Division, Nashik. DRDO initiated feasibility studies for retractable air to air refueling probe until 7 October 2022. AMCA will adopt an Articulated Probe and Drogue System.
The AMCA is a twin-engine, stealth supersonic multi-role fighter designed for the IAF. At present, the AMCA is planned as a fifth generation fighter but will integrate emerging, best of breed sixth generation technologies over time. The AMCA would be the first fifth generation fighter to enter service with the Indian Air Force.
The AMCA is designed with shoulder mounted diamond shaped trapezoidal wings, a profile with substantial area-ruling to reduce drag at transonic speeds, and a stabilator V-tail with large fuselage mounted Tail-wing. Flight control surfaces include leading and trailing-edge flaps, ailerons, rudders on the canted vertical stabilizers, and all-moving tailplanes; these surfaces also serve as Air brakes. The cockpit features a single seat configuration which is placed high, near the air intakes and wings of the aircraft to provide good visibility to the pilot with a single bubble canopy. A leading-edge root extension (LERX), which is a small fillet, is situated on the front section of the intake and wings of the aircraft. It has a typically roughly rectangular shape, running forward from the leading edge of the wing root to a point along the fuselage. The aircraft features a tricycle landing gear configuration. The weapons bay is placed on the underside of the fuselage between the nose and main landing gear. The AMCA is designed to produce a very small radar cross-section, to accomplish this it features “S-shaped” air-intakes to reduce radar exposure to the fan blade which increases stealth, uses an internal weapons bay and features the use of composites and other materials. The flight control surfaces are controlled by a central management computer system. The AMCA will have some sixth generation characteristics such as an optionally manned, directed energy weapons, capable of controlling UCAVs and swarm drones.
Stealth and radar signature
The AMCA design has inherent radar stealth, achieved through platform edge alignment and serration, body conformal antenna and low intercept radar, Diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) with serpentine ducts which conceal engine fan blades, internal weapons bay and extensive use of composites in airframe. The airframe will use aluminium alloys, maraging and stainless steels, Nitinol and Inconel with composite quotient at 38–40%. As of October 2022, designers are still in the process of refining the radar deflection capability of AMCA.
Sensors and avionics
The AMCA is expected to have distributed passive sensors with Artificial intelligence (AI) assisted multi-sensor data fusion to increase situational awareness and to work in tandem with the advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite onboard AMCA. The AMCA has a distributed processing system employing fast processors and smart subsystems. The AMCA will also have an integrated vehicle health monitoring system which works on sensor fusion.
AMCA will be equipped with a larger and powerful variant of the Uttam AESA Radar which will use gallium nitride (GaN) technology. It will be mounted on a mechanically steerable mount. An onboard condition monitoring system is also planned to be included in the AMCA.
The AMCA will have a glass cockpit equipped with a wide panoramic touchscreen display for enhanced man-machine interaction, a multi function display (MFD) placed in portrait orientation and a wide-angle holographic head-up display (HUD). The AMCA will have hands-on throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) arrangement with right hand on stick and left hand on throttle settings to ease the pilot workload.
The AMCA is to be powered by two afterburning turbofan engines mounted side by side in the fuselage, fed by Diverterless supersonic inlets (DSI). The initial plan was to equip an uprated Kaveri engine developed for Tejas, but Kaveri engine programme was shelved due to sub-optimal performance. The AMCA Mark 1 will be powered by GE F414 afterburning turbofan engine, while AMCA Mark 2 would be powered by either indigenous or joint venture (JV) engine of 110 kN thrust. In 2015, ADA held a series of discussions with foreign engine manufacturers exploring the possibility of joint venture.
As per Government statement in Rajya Sabha during Winter Session 2021, there is a proposal to jointly develop engine for AMCA with the help of foreign partner using the know how from Kaveri engine development programme.
The AMCA features an internal weapons bay for carrying missiles and standoff precision guided munitions in stealthy configuration, while also has provision for external hardpoints for carrying ordinance externally for non-stealthy missions. Directed energy weapons are also planned to be equipped on the AMCA.
Specifications can vary as the aircraft is still in development. All the informations are based on available non-official sources - approximate and preliminary.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 17.6 m (57 ft 9 in)
- Wingspan: 11.13 m (36 ft 6 in)
- Height: 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
- Wing area: 55 m2 (590 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 12,000 kg (26,455 lb) (estimated)
- Gross weight: 18,000 kg (39,683 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 25,000 kg (55,116 lb) (estimated)
- Fuel capacity: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb)
- Payload: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb) ― 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) internal and 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) external stores
- Powerplant: 2 × Modified GE F414 (initial production) afterburning turbofan
- Maximum speed: 2,600 km/h (1,600 mph, 1,400 kn)
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.15
- Range: 3,240 km (2,010 mi, 1,750 nmi)
- Combat range: 1,620 km (1,010 mi, 870 nmi)
- Ferry range: 5,324 km (3,308 mi, 2,875 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 20,000 m (65,000 ft)
- Guns: 23 mm GSh-23 cannon
- Hardpoints: 14 (in non stealth version) with a capacity of around 6.5 tons (expected), with provisions to carry combinations of:
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
- KAI KF-21 Boramae
- Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II
- Mikoyan LMFS
- Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin
- Shenyang FC-31
- TAI TFX
- Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate
- Kumar, KP Sanjeev (24 October 2020). "When Can Indian Air Force Deploy First 'Desi' 5th Gen Fighter Jet?". TheQuint. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
- "A point for HAL Nashik to ponder: What after Sukhoi-30MKI fighters?". Business Standard. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
- P, Rajat (22 November 2021). "AMCA Fighter Jet: Made-in-India stealth fighter project set to take off in 2022". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "ADA-Advanced Medium Fighter Aircraft".
- Pubby, Manu. "India likely to produce next generation fighter jets in a private sector-led joint venture". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- Rao, Ch Sushil (5 August 2021). "Midhani supplies titanium alloy for medium combat jets' airframe". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 August 2021.
- "India Looks to Indigenous Fighters". AINonline. Retrieved 12 September 2022.
- "Scientists face uphill task developing India's first 5th generation fighter". Bangalore Mirror. Bangalore Mirror Bureau. 12 February 2022.
- Jha, Manish Kumar (17 November 2021). "With Certainty, LCA MK 2 Aircraft Is Slated To Enter Production By 2027 And AMCA By 2035--HAL CMD R. Madhavan". BW Businessworld. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- "Aero India 2019: HAL-developed Advanced Medium Aicraft [sic] will be IAF's 1st option for fifth-gen fighter". Times of India. 23 February 2019.
- "India plans to roll out fifth-generation fighters by 2024". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
- Pandit, Rajat (22 November 2021). "AMCA Fighter Jet: Made-in-India stealth fighter project set to take off in 2022". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
- Rao, Radhakrishna (6 October 2008). "India reveals plan to develop indigenous medium fighter". Flight International. Archived from the original on 10 February 2022.
- "The LCA Tejas Programme: Leading to Indigenous AMCA: Quo Vadis?". Indian Defence Review. 20 February 2022.
- 30th Audit report ADA (PDF) (Report).
- "India set to build Medium Combat Aircraft". Business Standard. 20 January 2022.
- Abhijit Iyer-Mitra and Pushan Das. "The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft:A Technical Analysis" (PDF). Observer Research Foundation.
- "India's Indigenous 5th-Gen Combat Plane to Boast Of Condition Monitoring Systems". Defence Now. Archived from the original on 10 December 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "Login". aviationweek.com. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
- Y. Mallikarjun (21 November 2010). "Plans for Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 November 2022.
- ADA 30th Annual report (PDF) (Report).
- "A note on India's Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project". News 18. 27 December 2022.
- 30th Audit report ADA (PDF) (Report).
- "Development of indigenous AMCA on track". The Hindu. 20 February 2022.
- 31st ADA Audit Report (PDF) (Report).
- 31st ADA Audit Report (PDF) (Report).
- 31st ADA Audit Report (PDF) (Report).
- "AMCA, India's first stealth fighter, likely to be airborne before 2025". onmanorama. 19 February 2022.
- "After Tejas, defence industry looks to 'Make In India' advanced medium combat aircraft". Finance Express. 4 April 2022.
- "Indigenous light combat aircraft targeted by 2022". Hindustan Times. 23 August 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
- "Govt to soon give nod for indigenous stealth fighters". Hindustan Times. 17 March 2021.
- "IAF plans to have 125 advanced combat jets". THE TRIBUNE. 8 October 2021.
- "OneIndia Exclusive: India's stealth fighter dream moves towards reality". www.oneindia.com. 14 February 2022.
- "AMCA to be developed in 12 15 years–SP's MAI". spsmai.com. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
- "Defence 2 Last". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
- "Reliance Defence buys Saab's stake in Pipavav Defence". Retrieved 16 February 2022.
- Siddiqui, Huma (22 October 2021). "Exclusive- Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari to FE Online: Ready for two-front war; IAF is aiming for self reliance in all spheres". The Financial Express. Retrieved 22 October 2021.
- Jha, Manish Kumar. "Nowhere In The World Is Such A Commitment Of 450 Aircraft And This Depicts IAF's Plan For Capability Building: IAF Chief VR Chaudhari". BW Businessworld. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
- Siddiqui, Huma (22 November 2021). "India to get its own 5th Gen fighter! AMCA prototype to get approval next year". The Financial Express. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
- Pandit, Rajat (1 September 2022). "Cabinet Committee on Security approves Tejas 2.0 mega project". The Times of India. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
- "Based on the design by ADA & DRDO, the fabrication of Leading edge of AMCA initiated at HAL with special material for 5th gen design. The unit will undergo structural & other testing before putting it on the first prototype. An imp milestone for AMCA". DRDO. 9 March 2022. Retrieved 10 March 2022 – via Twitter.
- "Rajnath Singh inaugurates 7-storey R&D facility built by DRDO in record 45 days". The Print. Retrieved 9 April 2022.
- Thakur, Aksheev (29 June 2022). "Bharat Electronics Limited to work with ADE and ADA on fifth generation AMCA". The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 July 2022.
- Shukla, Vivek (14 July 2022). "HAL CMD launches the 'Metal Cutting for Titanium Bulkhead' of 5th Gen AMCA aircraft". Defence Watch. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
- "Air to Air Refuelling Probe (Retractable)". Technology Development Fund. Defence Research and Development Organisation. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
- "India's 5th-Gen Fighter Jet 'AMCA' Will Have 6th-Gen Technology – Indian Air Force". Eurasian Times. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
- "India Pulls out of Joint Stealth Fighter Project With Russia". The Diplomat. 13 April 2022.
- "India plans to roll out fifth-generation fighters by 2024". New Indian Express. 5 February 2021.
- "AMCA could fly undetected during dangerous missions". OnManorama. 5 February 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
- "India's 5th-Gen Fighter Jet 'AMCA' Will Have 6th-Gen Technology – Indian Air Force". Eurasian Times. 6 October 2020. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
- "New Delhi forges ahead with new naval fighter, AMCA". Flight Global. 9 February 2021.
- Kadidal, Akhil (19 October 2022). "Defexpo 2022: AMCA ready to be rolled out in three years if approved". Janes. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
- "Air Chief Bhadauria's focus on homegrown AMCA shows IAF learnt nothing from Tejas failure". The Print. 11 October 2022.
- "HAL AMCA: Why India Needs Its Own Lockheed-Martin To Develop 5th-Gen, Stealth Fighter Aircraft?". EurAsian Times. 12 April 2021.
- Karnozov, Vladimir (13 June 2022). "Indian 'Home-Grown' AMCA, An Alternative To FGFA". AIN Online. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
- "Aero India: Indigenous stealth fighter to initially use US engines". The Week. 20 February 2022.
- "Next Generation Radar for AMCA". Alpha Defence. 25 April 2021.
- S. Anandan (19 May 2016). "DRDO developing onboard equipment monitoring system for submarines". The Hindu. Retrieved 17 November 2022.
- "Aero India 2021: Futuristic Cockpit Simulator a big draw at airshow". Deccan Herald. 5 February 2021.
- "OneIndia Exclusive: DRDO to abandon indigenous fighter jet engine Kaveri project". One India. 11 January 2022.
- Peri, Dinakar (12 September 2021). "LCA-Mk2 to roll out next year, first flight in 2023, says scientist". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
- "Tejas done, focus on three other fighter jets: two for IAF, one Navy". The Indian Express. 5 February 2021.
- SP's-Aviation (7 March 2022). "Russia to partner in AMCA Technologies". sps-aviation.com.
- Peri, Dinakar (20 February 2022). "Development of indigenous AMCA on track". The Hindu.
- Punj, Vivek (29 November 2021). "HAL to manufacture first four light utility helicopters by 2022-23: Centre". Mint. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
- Perrett, Bradley; Menon, Jay (23 February 2022). "India's AMCA Fighter Targets Mid-2020s First Flight". Aerospace Daily & Defense Report. Aviation Week. Retrieved 16 November 2017.Template:Registration required
- "Medium Combat Aircraft". MCA Handouts at AI-09. Aeronautical Development Agency. 13 February 2009. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- Pubby, Manu. "India looks at a tight deadline to develop next generation fighter jets". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- "IAF plans to induct AMCA, LCA along with 114 multirole fighters under Make in India : IAF Chief". ANI News. Retrieved 17 July 2022.
- Jackson, Paul; Peacock, Lindsay; Bushell, Susan; Willis, David; Winchester, Jim, eds. (2016–2017). "India". IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production. Couldson. p. 297. ISBN 978-0710631770.
- Peri, Dinakar (12 September 2021). "LCA-Mk2 to roll out next year, first flight in 2023, says scientist". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
- "Aero India: Indigenous stealth fighter to initially use US engines". The Week. 20 February 2022.
- M, Tushar (19 August 2021). "Bharat Dynamics, MBDA missiles deal to help indigenous programs in India". Global Data. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
- Krishnan M, Anantha (19 February 2022). "OneIndia Exclusive: Hypersonic, next-gen missiles on BrahMos' wishlist: Mishra". OneIndia.
- Flight videos and photos
- Images of a model of the re-designed AMCA Fighter at Aero India – 2013
- HAL AMCA official video
- BASIC FLIGHT SIMULATOR FOR AMCA