Tuesday, November 16, 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Official Wishlist of Evolutionary Technologies for India's 5thGen AMCA

If the specialised team led by Indian aerospace scientist Dr AK Ghosh achieves what it has set out to (a huge IF, with all due respect), then one of the most dramatic aspects of India's concept fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be its cockpit and man-machine interface. For starters, unlike the cluttered, resoundingly less-than-fourth-generation cockpit of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas), the AMCA cockpit could have a panoramic active-matrix display. Next, switches, bezels and keypads could be replaced with touch screen interfaces and voice commands. Finally, what the team wants is for the AMCA pilot to have a helmet-mounted display system that allows the jettisoning of a HUD from the AMCA cockpit altogether. Some pretty hardcore stuff. But the idea is this -- if India is building its own fifth generation fighter aircraft (not to be confused with the Indo-Russian FGFA/PAK-FA), and believes it can deliver, then aim for the damn stars. I've got my hands on AMCA documents that provide the first detailed view of just how ambitious the programme actually is. Let me run you through some of them.

The AMCA team has already asked private industry in the country to explore the feasibility of creating primary panoramic displays and other avionics displays that would befit a fifth generation cockpit environment. But the cockpit is just one of an ambitious official technology wishlist for the AMCA.

The envisaged changes begin at the very basic -- system architecture -- and look towards a triplex fly-by-light electro-optic architecture with fiber optic links for signal and data communications, unlike the electric links on the Tejas platform. And unlike centralized architecture on the Tejas, the AMCA proposes to sport a distributed architecture with smart sub-systems. Similarly, unlike the LCA's centralised digital flight control computer (DFCC), the AMCA could have a distributed system with smart remote units for data communication with sensors and actuators, a system that will necessitate much faster on-board processors.

Next come sensors. The mechanical gyros and accelerometers on the Tejas will need to evolve on the AMCA into fiber optic gyros, ring laser gyros and MEMS gyros. The pressure probes and vanes that make up the air-data sensors will evolve into an optical and flush air data system, and position sensors will be linear/rotary optical encoders. Significantly, actuators -- currently electro-hydraulic/direct drive -- could be electro-hydrostatic to accrue substantive weight savings on the AMCA. Sensor fusion for an overarching situation picture goes without saying.

The AMCA could feature highly evolved integrated control laws for flight, propulsion, braking, nose wheel steer and fuel management and adaptive neural networks for fault detection, identification and control law reconfiguration.

I'm leaving out stealth from this piece, as I already covered it here in June, including internal weapons bays. And I've reported on the AMCA radar here.

Unlike the Tejas, which features an avionics systems architecture based on functionality-based individual computer systems connected on MIL-STD-1553B buses and RS 422 links, the AMCA's avionics systems architecture will feature a central computational system connected internally and externally on an optic fiber channel by means of multiport connectivity switching modules. In such a system, functionality will be mapped on resourcred optimally and reallocated when faults occur. At least, that's the idea. Data communications on the AMCA's processing modules will be through a high-speed fiber channel bus, IEEE-1394B-STD. The connectivities will be switched by means of a multiport switching matrix, with data speeds of 400MB/second.

The AMCA could have integrated radio naviation systems, where all functions earlier done by analogue circuits will be shifted onto the shoulders of digital processors. Communication system will be based on software radio ranging from UHF to K band, with data links for digital data/voice data and video.

Algorithms will evolve substantially too. While the Tejas features almost no decision aid, the AMCA pilot could have at his command the ability to plan attack strategies, avoid strategies, retreat strategies and evasive strategies for himself and his buddies. Limited fault recording and limited coverage in the maintenance and diagnostics algorithms on the LCA will evolve into far more advanced ones allowing extensive coverage.

This is an official technology wishlist for the AMCA. If it sounds far-fetched and overreaching -- and it well may -- it still provides a glimpse into what the programme is looking at for what will undoubtedly be India's most ambitious indigenous aerospace venture. Before I forget, here's a nice little slide illustrating the AMCA's envisaged operational envelope (subject of course to change).


See also
First photos of the AMCA wind-tunnel model from last year

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW thats what all indians will like to see...if achieved within time.

Proud to be an indian...chakde

I would like to know about its manuverability like su-30..anything special on that part?

Anonymous said...

its really a ambitious one ,i hope i wont turn out to be like lca project :(

Anonymous said...

What about the RADAR ??

saurav jha said...

Although not something which i expected, the article certainly gives an insight of what is the wish list for AMCA. And looking at the list now it seems that the 2018 deadline is 5-8 years early projection.

Anonymous said...

Have they set a deadline for these to be ready?

Any update on the airframe?

Is the cockpit going to retain the rim arc? That won't be stealthy.

Indranil

Heberian said...

Sweet! Now to make all this happen.

Anonymous said...

As long as we are dreaming, why not get Shaktiman, Spiderman, Phantom and Batman with the AMCA?

Payeng said...

very ambitious....

VAP said...

There are space programmes that have aims less complicated than all of that... But it does all sound very impressive.
Can I just ask for confirmation on the combat parameters the AMCA is being designed to fit? Is it supposed to be a multirole fighter, the same category under which the F-35 JSF is being designed, or is it being designed as a strike fighter with secondary air superiority functions?
Assuming that the predicted IOC dates seen on certain news reports are correct, the AMCA should enter service around the same threshold that has been noted as the end of the IAF's MiG-29 fleet's service life (with the exception of the new MiG-29Ks being bought for the navy.)If it is seen as a viable project, is it safe to assume that it could perhaps supplant the MiG fleet as well, rather than just the Jaguars and Mirages?

Anonymous said...

Gr8 shiv... waiting for MCA to fly at least with half of these technologies...

Anonymous said...

WoW.

Anonymous said...

If its done time and budget...kudoos to HAL and ADA

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

A couple of observations on the projected AMCA:
1) The Tejas Mk2's cockpit will be far less cluttered than is the case with that of the Mk1 variant. In fact, the HUD can easily be removed TODAY as the HMD is a far more capable replacement. In addition, direct voice input (DVI) of the kind on board the EF-2000 Typhoon will also go on board the Mk2 M-MRCA.
2) Panoramic AMLCDs are already on board airliners like the A350 and COMEC AC-319. In fact, at the 2008 Airshow China in Zhuhai I saw them on display and they are reportedly on board the 5th-generation J-XX which made its maiden flight in Chengdu on November 8.
3) All these technologies will FIRST be introduced on the 18.5-tonne FGFA (the PAK-FA will be 22 tonnes, but will bear some external resemblance to the FGFA). Given the fact that the Jaguar IS and Mirage 2000H/THs, after being upgraded, will continue to be operational for another 20 years, their eventual replacement--the AMCA--is unlikely to become operational before 2035.
4) Triplex fly-by-light flight control systems were first tested and flight-certified on a Jaguar testbed by BAE Systems way back in the early 1980s and it is surprising why the IAF is not teaming up with BAE Systems to incorporate such fibre-optic-based technologies on board the to-be-upgraded Jaguar IS of the IAF.
5) Ring-laser gyros are already on the Tejas Mk1--it is the Honeywell H-42L.
6) Even on the Tejas Mk2, individual processors will give way to the core avionics processor that DARE has already developed. The HUMS on board the Tejas Mk2 will be a generation ahead of that now on the Su-30MKI. Even the comms radio suite, data links and IFF transponder will be of the software-defined type.
In conclusion, the technology wishlist is not that overreaching, as several of them are already finding application on the Tejas Mk2 and will also go on board the FGFA. The only question-marks remaining concern the project management architecture, and the industrial consortium architecture, i.e. whether or not the MoD will ensure a level playing field for the defence PSUs and private sector players. Judging by past experience, industrial harmonisation poses the biggest challenge. For beginners, let us see to what extent HAL (the principal beneficiary of FGFA-related technology transfers) shares its FGFA-derived spoils with ADA.

Anonymous said...

I think they left out some important other features to the wish list:

1) VTOL option
2) UCAV option
3) Active camouflage
4) Tailless, wingless and body-less design to achieve max. stealth.
5) Warp coils to achieve speed of light.

Did I leave anything out?

Cujo

Rajat said...

Thanks Shiv, you have done good work.
It will be a incredible fighter when it comes to reality

SKINS said...

WOW that was a would be a huge leap to our aerospace industry .I came to know that HAL had asked its user IAF for its wishlist and here it is if the user {IAF} has given these specifications i could imagine the level of confidence they have on our aerospace industry

satish kumar kandala said...

OMG! what a wishlist!
I bet they will be hiring a lot
Time to update my resume.

Anonymous said...

Well, all the best to the designers...

Lets hope aiming for the stars does not result in LCA like delays.

But if they even manage to do half of the mentioned stuff then KUDOS to them...

Shiv Aroor said...

Prasun: be that as it may, even Dr Ghosh's team views their ambition as overarching, but not unachievable.

aniket said...

Wow that's good to see but wat abt engines,radars and weapons . kaveri is goin to continue or something new and wat abt Mig LMFS is there any connection.plz update

Particles said...

Hi Shiv,

Most of your article only talks about the user interface. For those who working in computers & electronics, these UI modifications are simple. Given money, any company can develop those interfaces. What is more important is the sensor fusion and its usefulness in the 3d situational awareness. What it seems is that they are trying to replace the older sensor technology with the newer one...
But what is need is the newer applications of sensors not new technology to build the sensors; because those old sensors can be replaced with the newer sensors at time during an upgrade. Coming back to the newer applications, it cannot be easily done. As Prasun pointed out, most of them were already available in other test platform and soon would be available in production platforms in their respective country. So there is nothing evolutionary for the hype that was created yesterday evening for this article. Again, it is just an wishlist not a design document. You can wish anything but what can be incorporated defines whether an platform is evolutionary or not.

Anonymous said...

Prasun
What happened to your blog why don't you update it anymore?
Gaurav

Cane-an said...

My only question is WHY?
Why cannot we just quickly bring out an AMCA Mk-1 with not too much high-falutin stuff within time and cost and in sufficient numbers? Atleast let the Indian see the plane in air! Then the star trek enthusiasts in IAF/HAL/ADA can get on with their stuff...

Anonymous said...

DRDO, other gov. labs and private firms in India are now stepping out of their infancy. So we can't rationally judge them based on their past. It is like saying that a 9 month child is incapable of speaking and walking, and then giving up on the child. MOST INDIAN FIRMS ARE IN THIER GROWTH STAGE; MEANING, THEY ARE CAPABLE OF DOING MUCH BETTER NOW THAN WHAT THEY DID IN THE PAST. So, yes, except for the engines, we can do this within the given time.

These things should be much more easily accomplishable now. Now, we have much more powerful computers, testing labs and equipment, more knowledge and experience, more funds, etc, etc..Also, my guess is that DRDO labs have been working on the bits and pieces of this project.

abhay said...

With DRDO off the restricted list the guys have came up with MS and phd topics to rush to US on tax payer's money. More papers to be published.

Brij said...

Great Shiv Sir. This is the best analysis one can get on AMCA. Great work. Great dedication. Congrats to ADA too for letting all of us know what AMCA is all about through Livefist.

Anonymous said...

Nothing revolutionary in the field but revolutionary for us. Best of luck to our scientists.

coolgeek said...

So when can we expect this ? 2080 ?

Anurag said...

Looks like MCA is going to take quite some time.I don't see flying it before 2020.Well wishlist is quite impressive but one thing that i was thinking that when MCA will be produced between something like 2020-30,where will MCA stand between contemporary aircrafts.Plus This will be the major Indian aerospace project in near future till 2025(led by gov orgs),so what kind of involvement by private industries will be seen in near future in aerospace.I mean i heard Mahindra is developing aerospace capabilities,Tata working on that etc, so my point is when will we see competition in Aircraft development in india?
After all,Air force being the most important branch,should not be the last in indigenization.

sanu said...

oh boy!thats one heck of a wishlist.i bet the chinese would faint seeing this!anyways,ab panga le hi liya hai toh pura karna hi padega.my concerns r the engine & radar(in the end we should posses their building tech).we should develop new weapons for new aircrafts to be inducted.SELF SUFFICIENCY IS THE MAIN GOAL 4 ALL THESE EFFORTS.best of luck to the hal folks.!

Anonymous said...

i hope it gets completed before 2030 when USA launches its 6th gen fighter..

also why not have a JV with israel for AMCA or JAPAN?

Rahul said...

"unlike the cluttered, resoundingly less-than-fourth-generation cockpit of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas)"

As far as i remember i never criticized any of yours. But this analysis is no where near to truth.

Contrary to your analysis LCA's cockpit is far better than of many 4th generation fighters(not 4.5 and 4.5++). You may like to see these pics of Mirage 2000C's, Mig-29U's and F-18D's for the shake of comparison.

http://www.patricksaviation.com/files/photos/550/14377.jpg

http://www.richard-seaman.com/Aircraft/Museums/ThreatTrainingFacility/Aircraft/Mig29Cockpit.jpg

http://www.diggerhistory.info/images/air-recent/hornet-cockpit.jpg

This s of LCA(pic is small but gives close to full look)

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:kVQdJpelXkVEkM:http://i36.tinypic.com/r7rad1.jpg&t=1

Anonymous said...

I dont know how long this MCA is going to take another 30 - 50 years similar to his cousin LCA - 25 years.

Regards,
TAX PAYER

Anonymous said...

So I gues the Initial funding of this project must be atleast $2 billion or else this wishlist cant be achieved.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with what Particles at 9:45AM said most of what you have written is about electronics and computing. I dont know about other fifth gen tech like engine, stealth \ RAM etc as experience in these field is less But india should be able to do at least this. There are many capable companies in india who could do this given an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Its worth looking at
http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20101116/161359301.html

mathi man said...

I think this technology wish list is great and it is aiming for the skies in the fields we indians are good at : ie.,avionics, the fly by wire systems, the datalinks, the Structural integrity monitor system,etc.

But what about the Engine Specifications???????

ENGINE IS the heart and core of the AMCA. Can we afford just buying out an engine from Boeings and the ilk? again for AMCA? Can we call it indegenous??

ENGINE specs are what I will first chalk out if i were to start the AMCA. May be i missed? but its not there> I would also make a case study for the "Continuous ' failures time and again for the past 3-4 decades by GTRE, and suggest private entity partners, their roles/responsibilities. I may also "REMOVE" GTRE and may be dissolve this organization., which is a long call from MoD.

I would also see if I can build a state of the art wind tunnel in a IIT campus somewhere in india to enable this kind of project.

FIRST and then Yes, i think we are going the rite direction.

mathi man said...

I would also like to hear about:

THE Radar,
The BVR ability
Any DRDO initiative to build a BVR based on brahmos?
The Vector thrust ability


I would like to base our AMCA on the RAFALE, multirole fighter with nuclear delivery capacity

Gautam said...

I notice that your 'wishlist' glosses over some key aspects of a fifth generation fighter design, like STEALTH, SENSOR SUITE and ENGINE. Doubtless more details will appear eventually, but in general ADA's goals are far too lofty to be achieved in any realistic timeframe on their own.

We do have the knowhow to develop some of the components worthy of a fifth-gen fighter, but we cant achieve it alone unless we are prepared to wait till 2030 or so by which time these features will have become ordinary and common, as has become the case for LCA.

What is best is that we tie up with some of the other countries who are interested in fifth-gen medium fighters(Japan, South Korea, France, Sweden) and develop a true, international competitor to the F-35 in the tradition of the Eurofighter project.

keshto said...

First think about the entity list of state department where many of our defense firms are blacklisted. Technology denied is technological progress delayed!

many a slips between a taxi-off and a take-off!

As for wishlist - is it a wish list or a wishlist? for one is tea and the other being coffee!

ArkAngel said...

DRDO's AMCA .... going where no man has gone before.

nikhilesh said...

it's a nice attempt if ti complite it's a great job but please dont make it hf24 or lca

keshto said...

Can we call it indegenous??

Which modern fighter is indegeneous in today´s globalised world?

Technologies are bought n sold come every sunshine. Even the SR-71 Blackbird (whose mission was against Russia), ironically imported Titanium from it (Russia).

A-380, a double decker Airbus (French) uses Rolls engine (British), Gripen uses GE (USA) engines, Chines use Russian, Russians use Ukrain stuff and so forth.

Bottom of the barrel, if we have maximum indegeneous stuff stuffed in our fighters, good enough.


There is no single country independent enough to own all the technologies/Patents/products of the world.

Think 3D baba.....

SherKhan said...

This aircraft at the most will be 4.5 gen and not a 5th gen outright (as stated by ADA?). Furthermore it will be 20 years behind the current 5th gen technology when/if it ever enters service. Most of the technologies mentioned are already in the J-10B boyz. The remainder will enter J-10 and even JF-17. The modular appraoch has already been used for the JF-17, it is the reason they can adapt it so fast. India should be aiming for the F-22 class fighter and not a J-11BS. If i was IAF i would be looking for more F-35's, more PAKFA's, more MKI's and a token local aircraft that i can show at the national parades to feel good.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To mathi man: If the Tejas Mk2 has been specified to have an AESA-based multi-mode radar on board, it will be logical to assume that the AMCA too will have it--it is mandatory, if you've read Shiv's past posts on the AMCA in LIVEFIST. As for BVR engagements, the Astra BVRAAM can and will evolve into a LRAAM. BrahMos is too heavy to morphe into a LRAAM. The powerplant will of course be the Kaveri turbofan incorporating the SNECMA core. Thrust vectoring for the AMCA is not desirable since platforms like the AMCA will be optimised for BVR air combat engagements, and not dogfights. Therefore, let the air combat missiles--aided by wide field-of-view HMDs--assume the responsibility of off-boresight targetting/engagement. Afterall, within visual range AAMs can already sustain combined g-forces of up to 76 G, which no manned platform can, so supermanoeuvrability of the AMCA can be done away with. The principal technological challenge will be in the areas of sensor fusion and the on-board infra-red search-and-track system (IRST). Both Saab/Ericsson, EADS, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman have offered to co-develop such IRSTs to varying degrees for the Tejas Mk2. Like the FGFA, the AMCA's wind-tunnel testing will be done by TSAGI in Zhukovsky, Russia.
Nuclear weapons delivery capability can be achieved by even the Tejas Mk2 or any other existing combat aircraft as long as the aircraft's on-board mission avionics are hardened against EMP. That's how six of the IAF's Mirage 2000THs have already been optimised for launching air-delivered n-munitions. That project was completed a decade ago. The AMCA will be a few notches above the Rafale by the time it enters service after 2030.

Anonymous said...

@Prasun & @Shiv
Which aircraft would you recommend for IAF out of the 5 competing platforms in MMCRAs and why

Ben - Yours truly said...

I believe a helmet mounted display (HMD) would be a better choice.since it would make the fighter feel like very much part of the aircraft Ability to classify targets should be vital,so is an ECM suite such as Spectra. More than anything start with naval variant first to replace Mig-29k then progressively tejas as well. I strongly believe the two aircraft would stand sea corrosion for 15 years. Since IAF would alredy have FGFA, the lesser the incentive for AMCA, unless dirt cheap.

Anonymous said...

i hope before my two year kind retire it will be done

Anonymous said...

Hmm, check out chinese 5th generation fighter in Google or Wiki. Wiki has the first pic of a Chinese 5th generation. Looks like a rip off F-22.

Cheers,
Bharath

Mr. Ra said...

To save the time and avoid future embarrassment if any, they should from the very beginning decide the flexible contents and firm schedules of mk1 and mk2 versions.

roxy said...

It is very dificult to believe even a tech demonstrator can be made ready by 2018. I think we're looking at 2025 or even 2030. In that case why not aim for a 6th generation fighter? Because by the time this AMCA enters service, every country will be operating 5th generation fighters anyway. So what is the sense in developing another 5 gen fighter? From 2018 we'll have FGFA and can also buy F-35 if we like.
I'm really not very educated about fighters and all but just a very keen follower of defense developments but with my little knowledge I'm really lost on the sense of developing an aircraft that'll probably be operational in 20 yrs and by the time it's launched, it's nothing great!
With the experience of Tejas, we already know we can do it so no need just to practice more...........just take it to a higher notch guys!
I'd highly appreciate reply/justification to my post (even if it's an angry one). I'm really not very knowledgable about these things and maybe shouldn't be talking but I really want to know how this is going to be very different or better than FGFA or F-22!

Anonymous said...

Just wondering, How does these wish list requirements compare with current 5th gen fighters (F-22, F-35, PAK-FA).

What role does IAF envision for this aircraft, is it going to be strike aircraft or Air superiority ? (I am sure FGFA is going to Air superiority type for IAF)

mathi man said...

@Prasun Sen Gupta

Thanks for your response on my comment.

About Radar: Everytime we develop a radar, it is already an older technology and something new and better has reached the market. There will be a generation gap. Question is how do we overcome this gap? Do we do paced RnD or just buy the latest radar available?

About Wind tunnel testing: Yes. you have give me the info about where the testing will be done. We need to have it somewhere near bangalore. Even the capability of making the testbed platform using the help of Embraer (brazil). here in india. The reason is this:

GTRE: This lab does not deserve to be in AMCA project. They have toime and again failed to deliver an engine. The reason they give is we dont have wind tunnel testing here in india. Like Air india this GTRE is tax payer's nightmare. So, It should be closed or sold away to some private entity.
About GTRE: This lab has no right whatsoever

Mr. Ra said...

Chinese fifth generation fighters at some places are depicted with canards, which I think is highly impossible on any Fifth gen.

The data provided for AMCA may indicate that it can be primarily a strike aircraft with combination of the air superiority.

SherKhan said...

Roxy,

What you are saying makes sense. However this will be no 5th Gen aircraft anyhow. Look at the comments by Prasun, and he knows what he is talking about. This plane will be few notches above Rafale and that is if everything goes to plan. The time line could be bit shorter or longer. There are so many variables, the biggest being that the requirements might change :-). This will be no F-35, F-22, PAKFA (maybe). Its exciting time for the aviation fans.

Prasun K. Sengupta said...

To mathi man: Whenever anyone develops a product, it should be a lifelong endeavour. This means, for instance, if the DRDO and BEL have to pool their combined resources to develop a family of radars then they have to tie up with a foreign industrial partner for the next 30 to 50 years. Now, if you were to chart the path adopted by the DRDO and BEL since the late 1960s, the industrial partnerships began with THALES Nederland (formerly Hollandse Signaalapparaten) and this lasted till the mid-1980s. Then, for unexplained reasons, a similar partnership was struck with Poland's PIT for co-developing the Rohini 3-D CAR and BSR for the Akash SAM, and since early 2000 PIT has been replaced by ELTA. Now, if one keeps on changing industrial partnerships in this manner, no foreign OEM will bother to transfer any technology since this will only create an extra new competitor. Had the DRDO and BEL stuck with THALES Nederland from the very beginning, today this company would have found it financially viable to help the DRDO develop an airborne AESA derived from the RBE-2. What I'm trying to say is that if a particular AESA-based multi-mode airborne radar is selected for the Tejas Mk2, then that same radar or its follow-on derivatives should also go on board the FGFA, AMCA and the to-be-upgraded Su-30MKIs and Jaguar IS. But in reality this MAY NOT happen as the Russians will INSIST that NIIP Tikhomirov's MIRES AESA system gets on board the FGFA and the to-be-upgraded Su-30MKIs. Whether or not the MoD will be able to resist such Russian pressures remains to be seen. In the meantime, of all the AESA systems manufacturers, the underdog remains ELTA, meaning it is the only OEM willing to go out of the way to seek market penetration in India by offering to co-develop a customised AESA-based MMR for the Tejas Mk2 and Su-30MKI by combining its AESA antenna and related cooling system with the LRUs already developed by HAL and LRDE (the transmit/receive module, exciter, programmable signals processor, etc). On top of that, ELTA is also willing to supply the airborne testbed (a pre-owned Westwind business jet) that is dearly reqd for developing such AESA-based MMRs.
AS for indigenous wind-tunnel testing facilities for engines, they have to located somewhere at higher altitudes (on the foothills of a mountain range). But for airframe design optimisation India will continue to rely on wind-tunnel facilities in France and Russia. It is not fair to write off GTRE completely since it has from the beginning been handicapped. For instance, GTRE does not call the shots on metallurgy and is therefore not be blamed for failing to develop a superior core and single-crystal turbine blades for the Kaveri turbofan. It is MIDHANI that was entrusted with the task of mastering the core technological competencies associated with Kaveri-related metallurgy. In conclusion, the problem has been and continues to be faulty project management by the MoD and DRDO.

Mr. Ra said...

The technology for high temperature strength of blades of gas turbines for fighter aircrafts may still be illusive.

It is possible that even Russia and France may be at least half a step behind the American and British in this matter.

It was to be a kind of breakthrough not possible at GTRE or Midhani alone.

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what generation this aircraft is; WHAT MATTERS IS THAT IT FITS OUR NEEDS.

Also, it matters that our EXPERTS have decided that this is within our expertiese, budget and given time frame.

Mr. Ra said...

The due importance was never accorded to the metallurgical branch of science and engg since last many dozens of year, so perhaps not a single crystal blade of nickel superalloy has grown.

Gautam said...

One thing I feel is necessary to develop Indian competency in 5-th gen fighter technologies is to keep the Defence PSUs like HAL and BEL out of this project and let ADA work with the private sector instead. They already have ALH, LCH, LOH, Rustom, LCA mk.2, Naval LCA, FGFA, HJT-36 and MTA. There's no way this project can materialise in any reasonable timeframe by burdening HAL and BEL with it(in any case their role would be limited to manufacturing, with most of the R & D done by DRDO labs like GTRE, DARE and LRDE), and it would be the best chance for private sector to build up their competency from scratch on all aspects of modern fighter design.

Abhid-d said...

Mr. Prasun Sengupta, superb posts as usual from you. Always a pleasure to read info from you.

Also Mr. Shiv Aroor, I agree with Rahul in that what makes you think that Tejas' "cockpit is less than 4th gen" ?? In my view, in terms of sophistication and ergonomics, it compares very well with ANY fighter in the IAF's present stable (including the mighty Su-30 MKI).

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Gautam,

We are talking about a 5th Gen fighter, not TATA Nano. What will the Pvt Cos bring on the table? If they have areas of strength then those must be utilized in AMCA. Software is one such area.

gilli said...

It is grate to know that India is trying to develop 5th generation aircraft.

By the time India started development on LCA (a 4th generation aircraft) USA were developing 5th gen aircraft. Back then India was in no position to develop a aircraft with stealth and internal weapon bay features. But now when India is starting to develop 5th generation aircraft, USA is also starting to develop 6th generation aircraft.

Even now India just cannot jump ahead of 5th generation and develop a 6th generation aircraft, but at least design the airframe as a 6th generation aircraft. India is not just going to stop with complete 5th generation AMCA, India will also in future add 6th generation technology into AMCA. SO why wast money in designing a 5th generation airframe when we can develop a 6th generation airframe and later fuse all 6th generation technology into a very stealthy AMCA.

LCA just cannot come close to a 5th generation aircraft, a complete redesign of the airframe. Why do the same to AMCA.

India is going to receive FGFA and even few PAK FA's which are 5th generation and stands close or equal to F22. So why another 5th generation airframe for AMCA?

Abhid-d said...

Mr. Gilli, you say that, and I quote, "India is going to receive FGFA and even few PAK FA's which are 5th generation and stands close or equal to F22. So why another 5th generation airframe for AMCA?"

I ask you a counter-question : When we're already developing the AMCA, what's the need for a FGFA ? Seriously.

Anonymous said...

ADA seeks $2 billion for 5th Gen(AMCA) - 2 tech demos, 7 prototypes,first flight by 2017

http://knol.google.com/k/vijainder-k-thakur/advanced-medium-combat-aircraft-amca/yo54fmdhy2mq/107#

gilli said...

Mr. Abhid-d, following are few main points mentioning why India needs AMCA:-

1) Indigenization itself is a weapon in war. India cannot depend on other countries in war situation. Even if Russia is helping India the opponents can block supplies of weapons and equipment’s to India. No western countries will ever help India in war. So India need to have its ace aircraft's like AMCA and LCA to have air dominance in the war zone and protect Indian skys.

2) India in investing very huge amount of money for aircrafts. Without indigenous aircraft's India is buying aircraft's from other countries and the aircrafts are overpriced when compared to a similar Indigenous aircraft. All our hard earned money given to other countries will help that country’s growth or make sure their citizens live lavish lives. If India is investing that money within India by purchasing AMCA, all our hard-earned money will be invested back in Indian economy which will help India grow by providing work for huge amount of people and we as tax payers are happy for our money been correctly invested.

3) Global arms market is a huge market and India cannot be left out. India needs to have a huge percentage of shares in the arms market which will help us in better economic growth. As mentioned in this link (http://www.hindu.com/2010/11/21/stories/2010112165812200.htm) AMCA is a 20 ton aircraft which fill the gap for the Indian Air Force as the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas) would meet the low-end requirement and Sukhoi-30, the higher end. AMCA would probably be the first medium combat aircraft with 20 ton weight in the world giving it an edge in the global arms market.

Anonymous said...

The Matlab plot of Altitude vs MN is a oversimplified textbook example.

The characteristics of gas turbine engine(GTE) in handling extreme manoeuvres, the compressor surge margin characteristics and a host of other parameters will eventually define the typical flight path.The engine is the heart and it is not easy.

Given the very poor development record of original GTEs in India, we have to wait for some time to see what they come up with, unless they continue to licence manufacture GTEs which is property of other manufacturers.

Best of luck!

Gautam said...

Anon @ 1:37,

Private cos have to start somewhere. If you use past experience as a chief criterion then only HAL will keep hogging everything, just like the dozen-odd projects it is handling at present.

Lack of prior experience can be offset by foreign tie-ups. In any case the ADA is the main developing agency for the AMCA. HAL merely functions as the systems integrator and production partner. Private cos can fill in adequately in this regard. It's like the Russian system of design bureus/labs(like MiG and Sukhoi) teaming up with difference production firms(IAPO, KNAAPO, Sokol etc.).

The Pinaka and Akash are two successful examples of DRDO labs working with private production partners.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that ADA/HAL will be able to easily build a twin engined jet with internal weapon loads weighing 16-18 ton loaded. The concept is sound unlike LCA 5.5 ton empty crap. What needs to be watched is level of performance ADA can reach in following: 1) Stealth 2) Supercruise 3) Supermaneuverability 4) Advanced radars. Also it will be a costly mistake to design inlets for 90KN engines because I can bet that GE will have developed better engines in this class by then and no matter what IAF says today it will certainly not be happy in 2025.

Anonymous said...

Why PAKFA is AMCA is there? Simple 1) DRDO track record 2) AMCA spec doesn't seem to include supermaneuverability.

Gautam said...

The emphasis may be on having an indigenous engine now, but as Anon @ 12:33PM said IAF's thrust requirements are likely to change with time. The GTRE will probably not be able to deliver upgraded engines within a desirable timeframe(even the standard Kaveri won't be ready for LCA integration before 2016 or so) and as the deadlines for first flight of AMCA slip past 2020 they'll ask for a foreign engine.

Gautam said...

PAK-FA exists because IAF wants to have a 100% assurance of getting a fifth-gen fighter so they will at least have something at hand if the AMCA follows in LCA's fate and sits in development forever.

PrakashN said...

I dont understand why the hell we are again and again doing the "reinventing the wheel". We have fixed our staff qualitative requirements for LCA on the lines of mirage 2000 some 20 years back. And we have ended up now with our final product finding position on the lower side of the top 10 list of fighter jets in the world, and we are still importing in the form of mmrca. Now we are setting standards on the lines of rafale and EF apart from limited stealth. (i dont want to compare our product with F35 its miles ahead). Dont you people think these so called cutting edge technologies will become obsolete another 20 years down the line.
What is need for the hour is out of the box ideas, come on my fellow indians the future is ucav 20 years down the line only ucavs are going to the rule the world, let us invest on our thinking, finance on that rather than wasting the taxpayers money on fancy terms supercruise, endurance, steath blah blah blah...
lets cancel amca and divert all our resources on aura, neuron like ucavs along with new technological thinking on how further these ucav concepts can be improved, like laser weapons, smart munitions, other DE weapons, stealth etc.
If at all we dont want to waste our expertise on aeronatics let us join with the mmrca winner as R&D partner and further nurture our todays mmrca to the leading edge product of 2035 AD. And their spinoffs will be useful in aura.

Anonymous said...

MoD should provide funds for developing technologies for the 5th generation program. The AMCA should be formally launched only when the key technologies are mastered or joint development with technology partners achieves progress. After the launch of the program, IAF cannot be allowed to sabotage the project.

Sharad Bhatt said...

In India all the hitech modern defence hardware evolves as a concent and end up
as a technology demonstration.
LCA is far away from FOC, Kaveri program is scrapped and the design for fifth genetation is ready..
God save India :(

Anonymous said...

PLEASE AIM FOR LCA OPERATIONALIZATION AND LCA NAVAL VARIANT OPERATIONALIZATION,

AFTER THIS, LET US LOOK INTO AMCA....