AMCA: Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft
AMCA was in news in the first week of January 2015. It was revealed by the sources from Defence Ministry that the preliminary design stage of the futuristic fighter aircraft is over and the development work on the project is expected to start in 2015.
The main purpose of the AMCA is to replace the aging SEPECAT Jaguar & Dassault Mirage 2000.
Features of fifth generation fighter aircraft AMCA
• Single seat, twin engine with a diamond-shaped planform and an internal weapons bay
• High maneuverability which tends to include short-field capabilities
• Advanced avionics
• Networked data fusion from sensors and avionics
• Multirole capabilities
• Complement HAL Tejas, the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Dassault Rafale
• AMCA would be powered by K 9 or K 10 Engine with Super cruise capability without after burner.
Genesis of AMCA
The seed for developing the indigenous fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) was sowed in 2008 but its finalised form was unveiled during Aero India 2013.
The aircraft will be developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in collaboration with Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
The amount required for the initial design and development phase is 4000 crore rupees and the initial design of AMCA is expected to be ready by 2018. The first flight of the AMCA though will only be possible by 2025.
Difference between Sukhoi-T50 and AMCA
It will be unlike the joint HAL –Sukhoi initiative between India and Russia to produce FGFA. This multi-role fighter aircraft is expected to be two-seater derivative of the in-development Russian Sukhoi T-50.
Fifth Generation Fighter Aircrafts (FGFA)
It is a fighter aircraft classification encompassing the most advanced jet fighter generation. FGFAs are designed to incorporate numerous technological advances over the fourth generation jet fighter.
Main features of FGFA
• Low Probability of Intercept Radar (LPIR)
• High-performance air frames
• Advanced avionics features
• Highly integrated computer systems capable of networking with other elements within the theatre of war for situational awareness
Top 10 FGFA
• Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor – USA: The only currently combat-ready fifth-generation fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, entered service with the U.S. Air Force in 2005.
• Chengdu J-20 (Black Eagle) – China: Expected to be operational in 2017–2019
• Sukhoi PAK FA (T-50) – Russia: The T-50 prototype performed its first flight 29 January 2010
• Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II – USA: Is under development
• KAI KF-X – South Korea
• Mitsubishi ATD-X (Shinshin) – Japan: The aircraft’s first flight is scheduled for 2014
• TAI TFX / F-X – Turkey
• HAL Sukhoi PMF/FGFA – India & Russia: The first aircraft is to begin testing in India in 2014, with introduction into service expected by 2022.
• Shenyang J-31 (F-60) – China: It is nicknamed Gyrfalcon
• HAL AMCA – India: Initial design expected to be ready by 2018
Generations of Fighter jets
• First Gen jet fighters (1940-1950): used turbojets for propulsion instead of earlier piston-driven aircraft (Messerschmitt-Me262, Mystere-IV, MiG-15)
• Second Gen fighters (1950-1960): integrated new technologies, swept or delta wings & guided missiles for BVR (Beyond Visual range)
• Third Gen fighters (1960-1970): inducted improved radars, missiles & avionics (Mirage –III, MiG-25, F-4 Phantom-II)
• Fourth Gen fighters (1970-1990): incorporated fly-by-wire controls & multi role capabilities (Mirage-2000, MiG-29, Sukhoi-27, Tornado, F-16 Fighting Falcon)
• 4.5 Gen fighters (1990s – onwards): use more advanced avionics & electronics, with some stealth. (Sukhoi-30MKI, Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16F Desert Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet)