Why AMCA will be Game-Changer For Indian Airforce
MANY OF US ARE VERY MUCH FRUSTRATED WITH LCA TEJAS PROJECT. OF COURSE, IT’S AWESOME AIRCRAFT BUT THE WAY INDIAN PSUS HANDLED IT WAS MAKING IT DISASTER. THANK GOD THAT AT LEAST NOW IT’S INDUCTING INTO INDIAN AIR-FORCE. OR MAYBE LATER, EVEN IN THE INDIAN NAVY.
Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is an Indian programme of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. It is being developed by an aerospace industry team which consist of Aeronautical Development Agency as a design firm and to be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). It is a single-seat, twin-engine, stealth supermaneuverable all weather multirole fighter aircraft. Unofficial design work on the AMCA started in 2008 with official work started in 2011 and completed in 2014. In 2008 Indian Navy joined the programme for the naval variant optimized for the aircraft carriers operation. The first flight is scheduled to occur in 2023–2024.
It is a multirole combat aircraft designed for the air superiority, ground attack, bombing, intercepting, Strike and other types of roles. It combines supercruise, stealth, AESA radar, maneuverability, and advanced avionics to overcome and suppress previous generation fighter aircraft along with many ground and maritime defences.
The AMCA preliminary design was changed several times, to adopt new model engines, Radar’s and long range missiles. Like how the A 10 developed to carry the GAU 8 Avenger cannon. The AMCA also developed to carry multi national equipment’s like Missiles, Radar’s and Engines.
Several people have doubts on AMCA that it would be successful program or not. However, there are many reasons why AMCA wouldn’t suffer as much as Tejas did. As Tejas became reality on 4th of January 2001 when this date became historic in the chapters of Indian Aeronautical Industry when Tejas made its first flight. Since then, there were many problems faced by the development team for getting the thumbs-up from Indian Armed Forces. Many parts were imported because there wasn’t any local industry in India which could make these parts. For example, the engines (G.E F-104), zero-zero ejection seats (Martin Baker), actuators (Moog), Radome (Cobham), missiles (Vympel NPO), and Radar (Elta EL/M 2032) are of USA, British, USA, Russian and Israeli origin respectively.
Since India’s defence forces are rapidly gaining strength, it’s obvious that it would need plenty of defence equipments. And with new policy of Make-in-India, now several Indian Industries are getting involved in Defence sector. Like LCA’s Air-frame was totally made by HAL/NAL. But now, many private companies are getting involved. So this has created easy path for the LCA and as-well-as AMCA.
So question comes that how much AMCA is Indian? Coming to Air-Frame, it is unofficially reported that L&T will make Air-Frame components. The same company which is going to make for LCA.Then it comes to controls which will be made by ADE which is a subsidiary of DRDO. Then comes Avionics, which will be made by DRDO’s subsidiary CVRDE. Which would be indigenously designed & developed? It would feature Indian Navigation System NAVIC. The Moog actuators will be replaced by indigenously developed actuators manufactured at HAL Nagpur assisted by MTAR Hyderabad and Godrej Mumbai. The actuators are developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, ISRO and the IPR will be transferred to the consortium ( HAL, MTAR, Godrej). The fly-by-wire system in Tejas is developed by Bharat Electronics Ltd.
Then it comes to Cockpit elements. Cockpit of AMCA is designed DARE which is the subsidiary of DRDO and will be manufactured by Indian company Samtel which is the same industry which manufactures Avionics for Su-30MKI. AMCA will also feature India 100% designed and developed AESA Radar made with GaN (Gallium Nitride). It’s head-up display as-well-as Head-up mounted display will be indigenously made-by CSIO which is subsidiary of Indian PSU CSIR, the same PSU which manufactures India’s super-computer. The Electronic warfare suite is indigenously developed by DARE and DLRL which are subsidiary of DRDO.
The infrared based systems like IRST, missile warning systems, laser warning system also added internally in the AMCA. The IRST sensors are placed in all sides of the AMCA to provide full angle coverage like in Rafale and F 35. The proposed IRST system is work similar to the F 35’s EOTS who shares the information’s to friendly units like via the satellite and highly secured data links.
AMCA also comes with self protection jammer system to jam enemy radar guided missiles from both air and ground. electronic counter measure systems to confuse the infrared guided missiles and a radar warning receiver too added to detect enemy radar frequency’s.
Most important part is Engine and Armaments. Although configuration of Armaments are unclear, most-probability it will carry Indian weapons. Or Foreign weapons which are made-in India. The part of the Engine is still unclear. There is currently 2 options available. K9+ and K10 Engine. K9+ engine is designed and developed in India. Which would be successor of Kaveri? Second offer of K10 Engine is that the Engine will be made by Joint-Venture with any foreign country. Most probably its US Company General Electrics who is chosen.GE promised DRDO for full access to its core technology and also offered to give ToT for Engine for local manufacturing in India. But since K-9+ will take another decade to operation after so much R&D, it’s likely to be on K10. Recent visit made by Manohar Parrikar to US included the development of K-10.
There will be total 2 Technology Demonstrators and 4 Prototypes which will have it’s first flight in January 2019.And if everything goes as-planned, it will start to induct into Indian Air-Force from 2021-22.But Naval version might take some time. Many more 3-4 years.
Now question comes that what will be NOT Made in India?
There are reports that DRDO will consider another option of Cockpit Display which would be a JV between HAL and Elbit of Israel. If it’s chosen then it wouldn’t be totally made in India. Then the cockpit-speech recognition system will be made by Adacel which is the same company which makes same type of system for F-35.
As you can see, AMCA is a big game changer for India cause it will ramp-up India’s defence industries to a new technological highpoint. TEJAS was a tough-call but that call will bear sweet-fruits for India’s aerospace industry.
It’s Reported the AMCA will be ready by early 2020 or before and HAL starts flying the first flight of fully developed AMCA by 2021. with the initial low rate initial production by 2024. And the air force gets the first AMCA squad by 2025. If all things goes per schedule