Spotted: New Model Of India’s 5th Gen AMCA; To Be Official Project Soon

This photograph from January 17, shows Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar scoping out what appears to be a new scale model of India’s Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), its fifth generation strike jet concept. Putting aside how this photograph tragically chops off the AMCA’s nose, it appears that the design hasn’t significantly changed since the concept’s last ‘outing’ two years ago. The four-poster tail and X-15-like low aspect trapezoidal planform appear untouched from the last time anyone got a chance to see the concept design.
Things started with a compound trapezoidal configuration first revealed six years ago. Then came a pure trapezoidal with Hornet-like leading edge extensions in 2012. A little tinkering, and a year later the AMCA’s designers appear to have arrived at a final shape, with its almost diamond-like trapezoidal wing config. 
After years of wind tunnel models, design tinkering and fine-tuning of stealth characteristics, this year is truly (and hopefully) the word go. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) will, by August this year if everything goes to plan, look to obtain official project sanction from the MoD and funding to the tune of $800 million for the preliminary engineering & development phase.
It’s well known that the AMCA’s tech dem vehicles will be powered by turbofans from abroad, not a modified/uprated version of the Indian GTX-35VS Kaveri, though successor programmes by the DRDO’s engine research house GTRE in Bengaluru are aimed in part at powering post-prototype airframes of the AMCA in the 2020s.
I hear Parrikar, an engineer and technocrat himself, was brusque on Jan 17 when he met with programme chiefs at ADA in Bengaluru, where that photo above was taken. Told about import content on the LCA Tejas (hovering around the 60% mark), the minister said anything close to that figure would be unacceptable on the AMCA. He laid it out that the government was willing to pay special attention to the AMCA if it could be a worthy and continuous mascot for the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ ideal — a sort of touchstone for local development, testing and manufacturing prowess.
The folks at ADA and other agencies may have been shaken up by the minister’s terse manner, but the message is an important one. From where the programme stands, it may seem impossible for it to gallop along with what the government, for now informally, wants from it. But if that’s the kick in the aft section that a crucial aerospace programme of strategic importance needs, then bring it on.

16 thoughts on “Spotted: New Model Of India’s 5th Gen AMCA; To Be Official Project Soon”

  1. very good thing, AMCA must be VTOL aircraft as Kaveri twin engine is capable of providing that thrust.

    It only now will power of associated agencies and govt. to go for it !!

    VTOL also solves not only sea capability but also Naxal support and Army Hill area troop support.

    Currently Russian and HAL helicopters are unable to fill this GAP

    US F35 is single engine VTOL aircraft is going to be very important for next 5 decades to US security map.
    If they are concentrating on large number of VTOL that means u can understand the strategic importance.

    At this moment incorporating this change is possible but in future going for new aircraft will be difficult

  2. @singam – I'm not sure we should go forward with this project until LCA is fully operational, done & dusted with.

    It's quite ambitious, but we need to be realistic. Projects of these sizes most often than not end up with huge delays and make no headway.

  3. ^^^^
    Rank noobs like you post without knowing the difficulties that government sector companies face even for small projects

  4. Arre yar kuch to banne do, koi bhi bat shuru hoti hai aur commotion shuru hojata hai it is said asman se gira khajur par latka let us aim for the sky ie AMCA if not we will make a good -5 gen aircraft and please make efforts to send your grown up children to IIT's and not abroad for kushi jobs.
    I remember about 30 years we were making efforts to make improved bullock carts and if we can come up something like Tejas and Kaveri its not bad — try and try till you succeed, Ham Honge kamyab ek din sab ko hai vishwas — imagine other countries have made around 150000 and more aircrafts and tanks in last 100 years while we were doing bookh hartal– thora Mas(meat) khao, daru piyo bakre kato apane aap ko yodha banao (in case you cannot understand Roman hindi please leave comment will try to translate the same into English)

  5. We should first concentrate on finishing Tejas Mk2, then Rafale manufacturing & TOT, then PAK FA, after everything, we should start working on AMCA. Once we completed all the above deals, we would have gained a lot of knowledge and our requirements would definitely change. Afer that we could finalize the design of AMCA. It is going to be a complete waste of time, if we start now. IAF will definitely change its requirement after getting all these aircrafts.

  6. We have Jaguars , Mig 27's , Mirage 2k ,Harriers ,Mig 21 (MF) – all in the category of Fighterbomber , deep penetration,interdiction , close support etc. which need replacement in the near future . Considering the criticality of time and Tejas tamasha , we should put this so called model urankhatola AMCA on a lower priority and look at an immediate replacement for the above superannuating geriaritcs. I believe that a combination of Rafale and Su30mki would be an ideal choice , affordability willing . Since Tejas will be a dud for the next few rears , A third option in the name of Gripen can be tried . It is a nippy little fighter and can challenge the F16 , J 17 combine with adequate a to a weapons. It may be backed up ( if necessary ) by Mig 29 M2 or whatever is the latest the Ruskies have cut and paste together.

  7. Its shocking that commentators like Victor Raj advocate the AMCA to be given the last priority, when every interest aligns to scream, that AMCA should be given TOPMOST priority.

    In fact, the utterly farcical PAK-FA, in which India has zero workshare, must be cancelled outright. That money-guzzler of a project is unlikely to give India any insights in 5th generation tech, besides being yet another licence assembly contract, disguised as a "joint venture".

    To speed up the AMCA, we must unshackle the vast Indian private sector. They have the monies, the management expertise to assist HAL being the lead integrator. The monies saved by ditching the PAK-FA can be pumped to speed up the AMCA, with the private sector's help.

    With Manohar Parikkar's vision, I hope the AMCA gets attention and high priority that it deserves.

  8. @Abhiman: Not just the private sector, which has no capacity to build a jet engine, we need foreign collaboration to help us get over the line.

    That means we must team up with Nihon, who is also building a 5th generation fighter.

    It is the lack of an engine that killed the Marut, delayed the Tejas, and even today threatens the AMCA. We must have an engine. And the only way to get it is to team up with another country to fund it together.

    Shinzo is positively inclined towards Bharat, and we will never have such a golden chance again.

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