Hello defence lovers, in the last article we started discussing India’s upcoming 5th generation fighter jet programme i.e. Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). We understood the need, current state of development, possible timeline and numbers of AMCA.
In this article, we will discuss some more interesting aspects. We will understand the possible design, specifications, performance parameters, avionics and possible weapon package of AMCA.
Note– All the credit for the beautiful renders used in this article goes to the respective artists, viz. Kuntal Biswas (Twitter- @Kuntal__biswas), Satwik (Twitter- @i_m_satwikk), Harshal Pal (Twitter- @HarshalPal5).
Design of AMCA
AMCA will be a twin-engine stealthy fighter jet.
Wings– It will have shoulder-mounted, diamond-shaped trapezoidal wings. This design of wings reduces drag at supersonic speeds. It won’t have canards. The reason is manoeuvrability is not an important feature required in 5th generation fighter aircraft. As surface controls, it will have vertical V-Tails and fuselage-mounted Tail-wings.
Cockpit- AMCA will have a single-seat cockpit. It will be a glass cockpit with single bubble canopy construction. The cockpit will be placed high near air intakes and wings. This will give a better view of the surroundings to the pilot.
Air intakes- AMCA will have Serpentine air intakes or S-shaped air intakes. They will be Diverterless Supersonic Inlets known as DSI intakes. This design will help in increasing the stealth of the aircraft. How? We will discuss it in detail while discussing the stealth feature later.
It will also have an internal weapons bay placed under the fuselage.
In initial prototypes, General Electrics F-414 engines will be used. But in production variants, a new indigenous engine is likely to be used. India is developing a new jet engine with a foreign partner. This partner can most probably be the Rolls Royce. The formal deal may be signed soon. The new engine produced will be able to generate a thrust of around 110 kN. India will fully fund this project and will have full intellectual property (IP) rights over it.
Specifications of AMCA
Note- The specifications and performance parameters given below are as per the information available in the public domain. They are by various unofficial sources. They may change in the final model.
|Length||18 m (59 ft 1 in)|
|Height||4.8 m (15 ft 9 in)|
|Wing area||39.9 sq mt|
|Max. Take-off weight||25,000 kg|
|Fuel capacity||6500 kg|
|Max. speed||Mach 2.15+|
|Supercruise||Mach 1.82 (planned)|
|Combat range||1620 km|
|Ferry range||5324 km|
|Service ceiling||20,000 m (65,000 ft)|
AMCA will use an advanced variant of indigenous UTTAM AESA radar. It will be large and more powerful. It will be made up of Gallium Nitrite semiconductor modules. These modules increase the efficiency and range of the radar. In future, the quantum radars will come up. But the possibility of such quantum radar is much less in AMCA. This is because this technology is still in a very nascent stage. There is no clarity yet on whether AMCA will have side radars to provide broader coverage like in Su-57.
AMCA will have an advanced Missiles Approach Warning System (MAWS). Usually, such a system consists of distributed passive sensors. These are infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) sensors. They are placed at various points on the body of the aircraft. These sensors provide 360° coverage of the surroundings. This gives better situational awareness to the pilot. Further, they will be integrated using Artificial intelligence and deep learning. This will enable faster data processing.
Possible Weapon Package Of AMCA
AMCA will have an internal weapons bay with a capacity of carrying 4 missiles. It will also have external hardpoints to carry weapons in non-stealth mode. In non-stealth mode, it can have 14 hardpoints.
Air-to-air missiles: It will have Astra family missiles in this category. These will be Astra mk1, upcoming Astra mk2 and mk3.
Air-to-ground mode: In this category, AMCA will carry Brahmos-NG. This is going to be the lighter and smaller variant of current Brahmos with almost similar capability. It will also have a SANT anti-tank missile and Rudram series of anti-radiation missiles.
Bombs– AMCA will carry various laser-guided bombs and precision munitions like DRDO SAAW bombs.
Directed energy weapons- These are going to be an indispensable part of air warfare in the upcoming future. They won’t use any kinetic missile but a direct energy beam to destroy the target. We will talk about them in detail in the next part.
Thus in this article, we discussed interesting aspects related to AMCA like design, specifications, performance parameters, avionics and the possible weapon package. In the next article, we will discuss the new features that we will get to see in AMCA. We will also discuss the possible challenges in the development of AMCA. Also will try to answer some common questions related to this programme.