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Defexpo 2022: AMCA ready to be rolled out in three years if approved

A model of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, pictured at Defexpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. (Janes/Akhil Kadidal)

India's fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) can be rolled out in little more than three years if the government sanctions the project, senior project leaders said.

The AMCA represents India's efforts to develop a viable domestic fifth-generation stealth fighter to match China's CAIG J-20 Mighty Dragon and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the structural design partner for the project, initiated manufacturing activities for the aircraft in March 2020.

However, India's Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has not yet cleared the project for development. “The aircraft can be rolled out within three years and six months after approval of development is made,” said A K Ghosh of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), project director for the AMCA project, speaking to Janes during Defexpo 2022, being held from 18 to 22 October in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

“Following the rollout, the first flight can be conducted six months to one year later. The [project] is at an advanced stage of development,” Ghosh added.

ADA officials told Janes that the aircraft has incorporated an air intake with a serpentine pathway of the engine to reduce radar backscatter. The airframe also comprises a composite quotient of 38–40%. According to Janes data, these include aluminium alloys, maraging and stainless steels, titanium and nickel alloys, Inconel (nickel-chromium-based alloys), and composites.

However, another ADA official told Janes that the designers are still refining the aircraft's radar deflection capabilities. This is said to include continuing efforts to improve the radar-absorbing paint and the inbuilt weapons bay.

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