Why Naval-AMCA will Actually be a Different Warplane then Air Force Variant

Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Indian Navy have agreed to disagree that the whole rational idea of building a Carrier based Naval next-generation stealth fighter. Indian Navy in 2016, had approached ADA to develop a carrier deck version of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and soon flexibility studies were commissioned in 2017 to see if it is viable to convert Airforce-AMCA design into Carrier based 5th generation fighter aircraft.

While ADA is tight-lipped on proposed changes which AMCA will have to go through to be converted into a Carrier based 5th generation fighter aircraft, Industrial sources have said that ADA is well aware of challenges that it will face in the program and is counting on Navy Mark-2 program to provide necessary experience that it believes will act as a stepping stone towards the development of N-AMCA program.

Adapting an Airforce variant into a Naval Variant or vice versa have worked perfectly well in the past because to convert a basic 4th Generation design required changes to the wing and strengthen fuselage but doing that involving Stealth technology complicates the design process it is simply not easy to achieve performance requirements set by each branch.
Naval-AMCA will also need to make space for structural reinforcements and have the ability to carry additional fuel and not to forget reinforced landing gears, tail hooks, and larger wings to for increased low-speed control for carrier landings. Naval-AMCA will also weigh more due to the strengthening of the air frame which might result in additional thrust requirements required by the Naval-AMCA to make carrier takeoffs with reasonable weapons load and fuel.

Navy is ready to deploy its own team to help ADA develop Naval AMCA independently customised as per Navy requirements. Indian Navy and ADA are likely to discuss funding and design feasibility this year. Naval AMCA will require hardening of the fuselage, reinforced undercarriage and new landing gear system for carrier-based operations.

Of late, it is heard that Indian Navy has downgraded its requirements (specifications) of AMCA aircraft as compared to what IAF has demanded.

“This is since it is typically difficult to match land based aircraft’s performance requirements for a heavier carrier based plane (due heavier undercarriage etc),” the navy officer quoted above says. “But we have sought better over the nose visibility required for a tail-hook aircraft on approach for landing and capability to operate on both CATOBAR and STOBAR carriers (since we expect both our STOBAR carriers to be still around when the new CATOBAR, IAC-2 is envisaged to get commissioned).”

Indigenous Fifth-generation fighter jet project is very crucial to country’s sovereignty and integrity. Far too many times hopes of the countrymen in seeing timely development of quality indigenous systems, have been belied. One more time we hope against hope that powers that be are listening.

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