Gandhinagar: The Defence Research and Development Organization’s Aeronautical Development Agency made a big announcement on India’s 5th-generation advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) programme, on Wednesday. It also said the AMCA’s first flight could take place as early as 18 months from now.
Talking to reporters here at the ongoing DefExpo 2020 event, AK Ghosh, DRDO’s AMCA project director, said the 5th-generation fighter aircraft is expected to roll out in three years, and the first flight could take another year and a half. Ghosh said, “This would be the first 5th-generation aircraft to go into the Indian inventory. So, in that aspect, it is special. Today, there are very few selected countries in the world that have developed 5th-generation aircraft. Our design process has been completed.”
He then further said, “We are going through an elaborate process; a lot of validation tests were done. We are currently in the process of a critical design review. Once that is over, we are ready for development.”
Replying to a reporter’s question on the special features the AMCA would have, Ghosh said, “The gen (generation) of the aircraft is dependent on the time it rolls out. As time progresses, more and more new technologies and capabilities of aircraft are enhanced. Now, the greatest thing about 5th-generation aircraft is stealth – reducing radar cross-sections and other signatures. This is one of the design drivers. The airframe has been designed from the very beginning considering these aspects, whereas, in a fourth-generation aircraft, the airframe design is never done like that. As the fifth-generation aircraft started coming, they started borrowing certain concepts and integrating them with the concepts (have been) already developed. The AMCA is way more advanced compared to a 4.5-generation aircraft.”
It may be noted that the AMCA development cost is estimated to be around ₹15,000 crore. According to media reports, the AMCA will be rolled out in two versions – Mark 1 and Mark 2. The Mark 1 will come equipped with 5.5-generation technologies and the Mark 2 version will have incremental 6th-generation technology upgrades.