Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft
|Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft|
|A wind tunnel model of the AMCA|
|Role||Stealth multirole fighter|
|Manufacturer||Hindustan Aeronautics Limited|
|Designer||Aeronautical Development Agency|
|First flight||Early 2020s|
|Primary users||Indian Air Force
The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation stealth multirole fighter being developed by India. It will complement the HAL Tejas, the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Dassault Rafale. Unofficial design work on the AMCA has been started. A naval version is confirmed, as the Indian Navy also contributed to funding. In February 2013, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) unveiled a 1:8 scale model at Aero India 2013.
In October 2008, the Indian Air Force asked the ADA to prepare a detailed project report on the development of a Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) incorporating stealth features.
In February 2009, ADA director PS Subramanyam said at an Aero-India 2009 seminar, that they are working closely with Indian Air Force to develop a Medium Combat Aircraft. He added that according to the specification provided by the Indian Air Force, it would likely be a 20-ton aircraft powered by two GTX Kaveri engines.
In April 2010, the Indian Air Force issued the Air Staff requirements (ASR) for the AMCA which placed the aircraft in the 25-ton category.
Funding and future developments
In November, 2010, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) sought $2-billion (approximately 90 billion) of funding for the development of the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA). PS Subramanyam subsequently stated, "We have just started working on this fifth-generation aircraft, for which we had already received sanctions to the tune of Rs 1 billion. The way the government is cooperating, I am able to say that we will receive the funding ($2 billion) in the next 18 months". Funding will initially be utilized to develop two technology demonstrators and seven prototypes. The first flight test was expected to take place by 2017. Currently, the configuration finalization is planned for 2018, with the first flight planned for 2020.
By August 2011, the aircraft was in preliminary design phase. As of July 2012, with aerodynamic design optimisation near complete, the AMCA's broad specifications are final. The aircraft will have a weight of 16-18 tonnes with 2-tonnes of internal weapons and four-tonnes of internal fuel with a combat ceiling of 15-km, max speed of 1.8-Mach at 11-km. The final design is expected to be shown to the air force by 2012, after which full scale development on the aircraft may start. In February 2013, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) unveiled a 1:8 scale model at Aero India 2013.
The Ministry of Defense has put the project on hold for the time being because they wanted to make up for the protracted delays incurred by the ADA during the development of Light Combat Aircraft. According to a top Defence Ministry source, ″This decision was taken recently to let the ADA focus on the LCA project.″ It was reported in January 2014 that work on AMCA has again commenced after HAL Tejas attained IOC, and that the AMCA will be developed by 2018.
The AMCA will be designed with a very small radar cross-section and will also feature serpentine shaped air-intakes, internal weapons and the use of composites and other materials. It will be a twin-engined design using the GTX Kaveri engine with thrust vectoring with the possibility of giving the aircraft supercruise capabilities. Talks on a joint venture with France for development of Kaveri engine is on progress.
As part of the multidisciplinary design optimisation (MDO) currently on for the AMCA—wind-tunnel testing model of the MCA airframe was seen at Aero-India 2009. —that design-based stealth features will include further optimised airframe shaping, edge matching, body conforming antennae and a low IR signature through nozzle design, engine bay cooling and work on reduced exhaust temperature. The aircraft will have an internal weapons bay and radar-absorbent paint and composites.
As well as advanced sensors the aircraft will be equipped with missiles like DRDO Astra and other advanced missiles, stand-off weapons and precision weapons. The aircraft will have the capability to deploy Precision Guided Munitions. The aircraft will feature extended detection range and targeting range with the ability to release weapons at supersonic speeds. The aircraft's avionics suite will include AESA radar, IRST and appropriate electronic warfare systems and all aspect missile warning suite.
In the Paris Air Show 2013, ADA revealed that the AMCA will have "net-centric warfare, vehicle management (including weapons), data fusion, decision aids, integrated modular avionics, internal carriage of weapons, signature control with sharpening for low observability, AESA radar, IR search-and-track, supersonic persistence, high-speed weapon release and thrust vectoring." The aircraft is designed to be multi-role, with the ability to undertake both long and short-range missions, and conduct both air-to-air and strike missions. Unlike the HAL Tejas which has a digital flight-control computer and hydraulic controllers, the AMCA is likely to have a distributed processing system employing fast processors and smart subsystems and will be an electronically controlled via a "central computational system connected internally and externally on an optic-fiber channel by means of a multi-port connectivity switching module". This would require using the IEEE-1394B-STD rather than MIL-STD-1553B databus standard.
The product design work of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft has been started by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the vehicle is expected to be ready in 2018, Dr Tamilmani, Director General (Aeronautical Systems) DRDO, Bangalore has said.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the three-day international meet on 'Product Life Cycle, Modelling, Simulation and Synthesis (PLMSS) at VIT university on Monday,’ he said the aircraft would be equipped with twin engines with super cruise power and for the first time it would be using the stealth technology to 'hide' from radar surveillance.
The work on the design of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) that began nearly 20 years back had culminated in developing vehicles using indigenous technology and the first batch of 40 such aircraft would be ready for defence utilization by the year 2017. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) would manufacture four vehicles this year, eight by next year and sixteen each in the following two years, Tamilmani added. With the advent of communication and automation technology, system engineering and other tools, the message to the world community is: 'India can build new-state-of-art aerospace technology products and is ready for competition.' Tamilmani said each of the LCA would be built at an estimated cost of R2 billion and these aircraft would be subjected to around 14,000 failure simulation conditions, to test the efficacy of the technology before they were deployed for the airforce and navy. The ground work on designing the aircraft was started in the year 1993 and the prototype would be ready in the next five years. "We had to build the technology all by ourselves from scratch as no agency was willing to share the technology. Even though we have taken a little more time to develop the technology, we have now laid a strong foundation in this field", he noted. While 30 to 40 per cent of the product development time was consumed for developing design and testing, 50 to 60 per cent of the time had to be spent on quality certification, which was very stringent. Around seven lakh plus test points have to be checked in the aircraft for the certification, Tamilmani added further. "We are slowly making policy changes in the production of civil aircraft also. The government has allowed to manufacture 70 to 100-seater aircraft in the next five years", he said. The private sector would be involved in a big way, to work with the National Aerospace Laboratories and the HAL. Many countries were presently using the platform of aeronautics to propel new technologies, using the concepts of PLMSS, without the support of which it would be difficult to design combat and civilian aircraft, Tamilmani pointed out.
- Crew: 1 (pilot)
- Length: 13.20 m (43 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 8.20 m (26 ft 11 in)
- Height: 4.40 m (14 ft 9 in)
- Wing area: 38.4 m² (413 ft²)
- Empty weight: 16-18 tons ()
- Max. takeoff weight: 22-24 tons two tonnes of internal weapons and four tonnes of internal fuel ()
- Powerplant: 2 × new GTRE-Snecma engine GTRE GTX 35 VS Kaveri NG with vectored nozzles turbofans
- Dry thrust: 54 kN (12,130 lbf) each
- Thrust with afterburner: 90 kN (20,230 lbf) each
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to HAL military aircraft.|
- Images of a model of the re-designed AMCA Fighter at Aero India - 2013
- DRDO, HAL, IAF Framing Specifications for MCA