CCS approval process launched for AMCA design, prototype development: Govt

The process for obtaining Cabinet Committee on Security’s (CCS) approval for design and prototype development of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has been initiated, the Parliament was told on Monday.

“Fifth-generation fighter aircraft, due to very special features, are costlier than fourth generation fighter aircraft. Since AMCA is an indigenous 5th generation aircraft, it is less costlier than similar aircraft available outside,” Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt also told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply to a question by member Shanta Chhetri.

Earlier, the Director General of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Girish S. Deodhare had revealed that the configuration of the prototype was frozen, the preliminary service quality requirements were finalised, and the preliminary design review was completed. The critical design review is due later this year.

The development cost of the 25-tonne AMCA is estimated to be around Rs 15,000 crore. As per the ADA’s timeline, the first prototype’s rollout is expected by 2025-26 and the production of the Mark-1 jets slated to begin in 2030-31.

The AMCA project is very important for the Indian Air Force, which is grappling with just 30-32 fighter squadrons, against the sanctioned strength of 42.

The detailed AMCA designing, which was sanctioned in December 2018, meets the IAF’s preliminary staff qualitative requirements but the requisite powerful engine remains a major problem.

The first two squadrons of AMCA Mark-1 will have the existing General Electric-414 afterburning turbofan engine in the 98 thrust class. The next five Mark-2 squadrons will have a more powerful 110 kilonewton engine.

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