India’s state-owned aerospace & defence firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has started manufacturing India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in association with DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency on 9th March 2022.
The AMCA programme entered a crucial phase with the starting of manufacturing activities. It is noteworthy that, the plan envisages equipping the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy with a 5.5 Generation twin-engine stealth fighter.
What is HAL Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Program
The AMCA programme, earlier known as Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) programme, was initiated to develop a twin-engine fighter that 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 the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme and a detailed feasibility study was launched by ADA
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.
Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Specifications
Crew: 1 or 2
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: Mach 2.15+ (2633.84 km/h)
Supercruise: Mach 1.82 (2229.58 km/h)
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)
Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) Design & Development:
While the design and development will be carried out by HAL and ADA, private defence firms will also be roped in to manufacture the combat jet. The advanced stealth aircraft will be a multirole fighter capable of carrying out air superiority, ground strike, suppression of enemy air defences and electronic warfare missions.
Notably, the first two squadrons in AMCA Mark 1 configuration will be powered by an imported engine, another five squadrons with advanced features (Mark 2) will use made-in-India 125-kilonewton engines along with 6th Generation technologies.
It is important to note that the new engine for the fighter will be jointly developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Safran of France.
The advanced stealth aircraft will bolster India’s air arsenal by enhancing air superiority. Further, the naval version of aircraft will become the primary combat jet operating from the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers.
Apart from stealth features, the advanced aircraft will encompass three-dimensional thrust vectoring, made-in-India Uttam active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, and internal weapons bay to bolster the stealth capabilities of the aircraft.
AMCA can clock a maximum speed of over 2,600 kilometres per hour (Mach 2.15), along with the combat range of 1,620 km. The fighter will be equipped with 23 mm cannon and will have 14 hardpoints in non-stealth version to carry armaments weighing 6,500 kilogrammes.
Presently, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is in process of manufacturing Mk2 version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas along with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), as well as the AMCA and the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), for the Indian Navy.
Addressing the media, Girish S. Deodhare, Director General of ADA stated, “The configuration has been frozen, Preliminary Service Quality Requirements (PSQR) are finalised and the preliminary design review is complete. The Critical Design Review (CDR) is expected later this year with the rollout planned in 2024 and first flight planned in 2025.”
Also Read: All You Need To Know About Indian Air Force Fighter Aircraft
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