5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft: Talks with international engine manufacturers at a nascent stage

Discussions are still underway with international engine manufacturers on the co-development of engines for the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). Sources in the defence PSUs involved in the development of the aircraft confirm that talks are at an early stage.

A Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) official told The Indian Express on condition of anonymity that the final call would be taken by the Ministry of Defense (MoD). “AMCA’s engine will be co-developed with an international partner. We are looking at what engine manufacturers are offering in terms of technology transfer (TT) and development costs. So we haven’t finalized the manufacturer yet.”

Last month, French aircraft engine major Safran submitted a proposal to the MoD with DRDO’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) for co-development with a 110 kg Newton thrust engine for the AMCA.

Jean-Paul Allari, CEO of Safran Aircraft Engines, said, “The negotiations are at a very early stage. We have to see that all the technologies mature and then we will formally develop the engines. We have been India’s long-standing partner. ”

It is learnt that the sanction from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) sanction for the design and prototype development of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) has not come yet. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) are working on its design.

A top HAL officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Once the Cabinet sanction for AMCA comes in, the prototype will be out in six to seven years. We need to sync in the money for the development.”

R Madhavan, chairman and managing director of HAL, told The Indian Express, “HAL is a design partner as of now and the prototypes are planned to be manufactured through SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) models involving Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), HAL and private players. We are working on the design aspect. The work on landing gears and environmental control systems among other things are being worked upon.”

The AMCA’s specifications are in line with fifth-generation aircraft technology, with features such as stealth, internal weapons, supercruise, serpentine air intake, etc.

The construction of the titanium bulkhead for AMCA began last week at the Aircraft Manufacturing Division, Nashik, in Maharashtra. The bulkhead protects the aircraft from bursting due to high internal pressure.

In March, a new Flight Control Systems Integration Facility was built at the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) that will support research and development activities to develop avionics for fighter aircraft, including the AMCA.

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