The more capable indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk2 is expected to be ready for production by 2027 while the fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) is awaiting approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security and the development would take 10 years after that, said Director General of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Girish S. Deodhare on Tuesday.
Another ambitious project, the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF) to operate off the Navy’s aircraft carriers was expected to take its first flight by 2026 and expected to be ready for production by 2031, Dr. Deodhare said speaking to the media at Aero India.
The AMCA was in the Critical Design Review phase, he said. The project cost was estimated to be around ₹15,000 crore.
Dr. Deodhare said the Indian Air Force was looking for six LCA-Mk2 squadrons and seven AMCA squadrons. A fighter squadrons typically has 18 aircraft.
The AMCA is envisaged as a 25 tonne twin-engine stealth aircraft with an internal weapons bay and Diverterless Supersonic Intake which has been developed in India for the first time. The TEDBF is envisaged as a twin-engine medium-weight fighter with an all up weight of 26 tonnes and wing folding. The ADA is drawing lessons from the Naval variant of LCA to build the TEDBF.
Two LCA (Navy) prototypes were currently flying and a third prototype is getting ready, Dr. Deodhare said.
In 2017, the Navy had floated Request For Information to procure 57 twin engine carrier fighter which is now set to downsized to around 26 including few twin seater trainer variants, with the TEDBF in the pipeline.
In January 2020, the DRDO had demonstrated successful arrested landing of Naval Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) on INS Vikramaditya and subsequently, 18 take-offs and landings were conducted in five days. Earlier this month, the LCA (Navy) also undertook maiden landing on the indigenous carrier INS Vikrant,
The Navy currently has MiG-29Ks for carrier operations and till the TEDBF is ready is looking at the procurement of an advanced fighter, between the Boeing F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and the Dassault Aviation Rafale, expected to be announced in the next few months.