India approves project to make its own AMCA stealth fighter jets

The advanced medium combat aircraft will put India in an elite club alongside the US, Russia and China

AMCA model displayed during Aero India 2021. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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India's government has given the go-ahead for a project to manufacture a locally designed fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, accelerating its ambitious Make in India initiative.

The Cabinet Committee on Security on Thursday cleared the design for the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) and allotted 150 billion rupees ($1.81 billion) for further development and manufacture of the fighter jets.

The project is part of India's drive to upgrade and modernise its military capabilities without relying on imports. The US, Russia and China are the only countries so far to have developed operational fifth-generation fighter jets.

The Aeronautical Development Agency, a part of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation, will oversee further development of the AMCA design, with production of the jets by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (Hal) expected to begin after a decade.

The ADA is working on five prototypes of the single-seat, 25-tonne, twin-engine stealth fighter. It will have have an internal bay for weapons and achieve supersonic cruise speed using a locally-developed version of the diverterless supersonic intake used in foreign advanced fighter jets.

The AMCA is intended to perform a variety of missions including air supremacy, ground strikes, suppression of enemy air defences and electronic warfare.

India has increased its focus on indigenous design, development and manufacture of advanced technologies and systems in the defence sector under the Nirbhar Abhiyan – Make In India – initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

In 2021, the Indian Air Force began inducting the new light combat helicopters designed and built by Hal. The 5.8-tonne, twin-engine helicopters are designed to operate in the high altitudes along the country's northern borders.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 12:04 PM