All about India’s Fifth Generation Indigenous Fighter Jet AMCA

A 15,000 crore project has been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) to design and develop the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), India’s own fifth-generation fighter jet.

The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which is under the purview of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, will be the nodal agency for executing the programme. The fighter jet will be manufactured by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

AMCA will make India one of the select few countries that have their own fifth-generation fighter aircraft.


Other Fifth Generation Fighters

Only a select few countries have been able to design and develop a fifth-generation stealth fighter. The USA, Russia, and China have their own fifth-generation fighters, such as the F22 Raptors and F35 Lightning of the USA, the Sukhoi Su-57 of Russia, and the J20 mighty Dragon of China. 

India will join this elite club soon as it seeks to develop its fifth-generation aircraft within the coming 10 years.


Features of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft

Engine: The Mk1 or Mark 1 variant of the aircraft will use the US-made GE414 engine of the 90 kilonewton(kN) class, while the advanced AMCA Mk2 will have a more powerful 110kN engine, which DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment will develop in partnership with a foreign defence firm.


Stealth & Weapons: The aircraft will hold a 6.5-tonne fuel tank and an array of weapons in its belly. AMCA will be a 25-tonne, twin-engine aircraft, which is bigger than any aircraft in the Indian Air Force inventory. It will have stealth features to avoid detection by enemy radars. According to Dr Krishna Rajendra Neeli, project director at ADA, the fighter jet will be on par or even superior to other fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft in use globally.


AMCA: Need, Features & Development Timeline

The Indian Air Force has 30 squadrons, compared to the sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons. With an ageing fleet of Mig-21, Mig-29, Jaguars, and Mirage 2000, the number of squadrons is projected to decrease further, and the IAF has been raising this concern with the defence ministry for quite some time. The recently inducted fighter jets, Rafale and Tejas, are 4.5-generation fighters, which will boost the number of IAF squadrons.

Discussions for AMCA started in 2007, with original plans to manufacture the jet with Russia. However, India withdrew in 2018, citing disagreements with the Russian partners.

Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft will have stealth features like low electromagnetic signature and coating that diverts radar signals instead of reflecting them, causing detection.

Apart from stealth, the AMCA will have a large belly to store a 6.5-tonne fuel tank and a weapons bay loaded with advanced weapons.


The fifth-generation fighter will have its maiden test flight in 4-5 years, and 5 prototypes will be built before HAL begins manufacturing the aircraft.

Indian Air Force has indicated that it requires seven squadrons of AMCA to start with. One squadron consists of 18 aircraft, and with the current ageing fleet, Tejas and AMCA will not be able to fill the gap in the strength of the IAF fleet.

The growth trajectory of Indian defence manufacturing has shown ascension with the capability to design and develop complex systems like aircraft carriers, fighter jets, helicopters and warships. India is moving towards achieving its goal of self-reliance as it starts building critical infrastructure and keeps developing new systems to address its requirements. 

Additionally, Bharat is emerging as a significant player in supplying weapons and platforms vital to national security.


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