DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency is seeking technology-cum-investment partners for speedy development and execution of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft programme
Models of India’s stealth aircraft displayed at Defexpo 2020
Developers of India’s stealth fighter jet have opened doors for private players. The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), under development by the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) for close to two decades, is a fifth-generation, medium-weight, multirole, and twin-engine aircraft. The AMCA will put India in a select group of countries with super-cruise and stealth aircraft capabilities—the others being the US, Russia and China.
The jet is in an advanced stage of development, with the critical design review completed. It’s awaiting nod for additional funds from the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS) to manufacture prototypes. To keep the programme running smoothly, the ADA has opened doors for private players to join them in development of the jet.
“To accelerate the development and production of the AMCA, the ADA is looking for interaction with prospective firms who are willing to participate as technology-cum-investment partners towards development and manufacturing of the AMCA,” the ADA stated in its notification, adding that it was looking for Indian companies only.
The ADA is seeking a response from interested private players by February 28, and has planned interactions on March 17 and 18. The AMCA programme is to be executed by a public-private joint venture—a first in Indian military industrial history for making fighter jets. Tata, however, has finalised an agreement for making the C295 transport aircraft in collaboration with Airbus in Vadodara, Gujarat.
In 2009, the Union government had allocated Rs 90 crore, followed by an additional Rs 447 crore, for a feasibility study for designing India’s future fighter jet. The AMCA has a budget of Rs 15,000 crore for development of the prototype. Even after the CCS nod, it will take at least four years to manufacture the first aircraft under the programme. ADA has a 10-year roadmap for making the first five prototypes and flight testing.
Union minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt has stated in Parliament that due to some very special features, fifth-generation fighter aircraft are costlier than their fourth-generation cousins. However, the AMCA, being indigenous, would come cheaper than a similar imported aircraft.
Stealth aircraft are designed to avoid detection by enemy radars or their air-defence systems. Their ‘First Look, First Kill’ concept will allow AMCA pilots to spot an enemy plane first, fire a missile and destroy the target without the adversary even knowing about it or being able to react.