Boeing Unveils An AMCA ‘Sweetener’
Following the lead of Swedish company, Saab, Boeing has linked its offer to build a fighter aircraft in India with the promise of assistance in designing and building an Indian fifth-generation (Gen-5) fighter.
Boeing’s plan involves first setting up an Indian factory and the aerospace eco-system to build the Block II Super Hornet, which will then be improved into the “Advanced Super Hornet”. That infrastructure and design capability would give Indian designers the instruments to build the AMCA.
Boeing has a very specific plan on Amca, with three major thrusts:
First, as the slide most visibly suggests, Boeing proposes that the manufacturing facility and supply eco-system that it builds up for the F/A-18 in India .That infrastructure and design capability would give Indian designers the instruments to build the AMCA.
Second, also mentioned specifically in the slide is the GE 414 enhanced engine pitch. Significant. Boeing here is proposing engine commonality from the get-go to support the prospective selection of the Super Hornet platform. Both Boeing and GE are in ‘multiple stakeholder discussions’ with the DRDO, Indian Air Force (and, presumably the MoD) on this aspect, said Boeing India President Pratyush Kumar during a presentation by Dan Gillian, Boeing’s VP on the F/A-18 programme headquartered at St Louis .
The enhanced GE 414 would be a feature on the Advanced Super Hornet proposed as part of the Make In India pitch. How this ties in with India’s own engine development efforts and opportunities remains unclear. The indigenisation thrust need to ensure the Kaveri effort hasn’t gone to waste — the AMCA could potentially be India’s last indigenous manned fighter project for the next three-four decades.
Finally, there is the suggestion that Boeing could be available to help along the AMCA programme directly as a partner or consultant in such a way that it makes the Block 2 Super Hornet -> Advanced Super Hornet -> AMCA flow more seamlessly from a development-to-manufacturing perspective.
Boeing’s India chief Pratyush Kumar said that “America is the only country that has actually designed and manufactured stealthy, Gen-5 fighters,”
“Stealth design is not a science. It is an art that is developed only after years of trial and error. Boeing has actually mastered that art while co-designing the F-35 joint strike fighter.”
Boeing is not in direct competition with Saab, which is pitching to build 100 to 200 single-engine fighters in India.
Instead, Boeing will compete with European manufacturers, Dassault, and Eurofighter, to establish a factory that will churn out a similar number of twin-engine fighters.
The Indian Air Force has already solicited interest from global aerospace vendors in the single-engine category, and a similar request is expected soon for building twin-engine fighters.
Kumar claims the F/A-18E/F, which was designed in the 1990s, is a decade more contemporary than its rivals like the Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon, which started being designed in the 1980s.
Source:- LiveFist and Ajai Shukla