India developing Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft with first flight about 2018

The HAL Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation stealth multirole fighter being developed by India. It will complement the HAL Tejas, the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Dassault Rafale. Unofficial design work on the AMCA has been started. A naval version is confirmed, as the Indian Navy also contributed to funding.

Military R and D establishment DRDO along with the special-purpose Aeronautical Development Agency is working on the 25-tonne Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft to beef up the Air Force.

Their original plan was to buy the engine off the shelf to quicken the development time but there was no engine in the 110-kilo Newton (kN) category that they wanted. It was decided to partner an engine manufacturer who can jointly upgrade available 90-kN engine – most of it in the country – to power the AMCA.

India wants to co-develop the engine and General Electric of US and Klimo of Russia are in discussions as possible partners.

India has about $2 billion budgeted for development.

First flight might be 2018 but the new engine would not be ready until about 2021.

As well as advanced sensors the aircraft will be equipped with missiles like DRDO Astra and other advanced missiles, stand-off weapons and precision weapons. The aircraft will have the capability to deploy Precision Guided Munitions. The aircraft will feature extended detection range and targeting range with the ability to release weapons at supersonic speeds. The aircraft’s avionics suite will include AESA radar, IRST and appropriate electronic warfare systems and all aspect radar warning receiver (RWR), Laser warning receiver (LWR), missile warning suite.

The AMCA will have “net-centric warfare, vehicle management (including weapons), data fusion, decision aids, integrated modular avionics, internal carriage of weapons, signature control with sharpening for low observability, AESA radar, IR search-and-track, supersonic persistence, high-speed weapon release and thrust vectoring.” The aircraft is designed to be multi-role, with the ability to undertake both long and short-range missions, and conduct both air-to-air and strike missions. Unlike the HAL Tejas which has a digital flight-control computer and hydraulic controllers, the AMCA is likely to have a distributed processing system employing fast processors and smart subsystems and will be electronically controlled via a “central computational system connected internally and externally on an optic-fibre channel by means of a multi-port connectivity switching module”. This would require using the IEEE-1394B-STD rather than MIL-STD-1553B databus standard

SOURCES Wikipedia, Thehindu

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