DRDO asks industry to join fifth generation fighter development
The new indigenous jet will be a fifth generation 25-tonne, multi-role and twin-engine stealth aircraft, which is being designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency; firms invited to participate as technology-cum-investment partners
The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has invited Indian industry players to join the development and manufacture of the indigenous fifth generation fighter jet, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
“To accelerate the development and production of the AMCA, the ADA is looking for interaction with prospective firms which are willing to participate as technology-cum-investment partners towards development and manufacturing of the AMCA,” said a notification issued by the Agency, specifying that the invitation was for Indian companies only.
Based on the success of the indigenous light combat aircraft, the Centre has entrusted the Agency with the design of a new fighter jet for the Indian Air Force, which will be a fifth generation, medium-weight, multi-role and twin-engine aircraft. Responses are to be submitted by February 28, and a forum of interactions is planned on March 17 and 18, the ADA said.
India’s ambitious effort to build an indigenous fifth generation fighter, which only a handful of countries have accomplished, is in the critical design review phase and is now awaiting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security. In 2009, the Union government had allocated ₹90 crore for a feasibility study on designing a fifth generation fighter, with an additional ₹447 crore sanctioned later.
Agency officials said that once the project is sanctioned, the first prototype could be rolled out in three years, with the first flight expected to take place in a year to a year-and-a-half after that, as reported earlier by The Hindu. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., the production agency for the project, has already begun manufacturing activities.
The AMCA is envisaged as a 25-tonne twin-engine stealth aircraft with an internal weapons bay and diverterless supersonic intake, which has been developed in India for the first time. It is intended to have an internal carriage of 1,500 kg of payload and 5,500 kg of external payload with 6,500 kg of internal fuel.
Last September, the Cabinet Committee on Security sanctioned the development of the LCA-Mk2, a new light combat aircraft, at a development cost of ₹9,000 crore, of which ₹2,500 crore has already been spent. The first prototype is expected to roll out in 2025-26 with the first flight planned for 2026-27, ADA officials said at the Def Expo 2022, held in Gandhinagar.
The LCA-Mk2 will be a heavier and much more capable aircraft than the current light combat variants as well as the LCA-Mk1A, 83 of which have been contracted under a ₹48,000-crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The IAF has given a commitment to procure six squadrons of the LCA-Mk2.