“Therefore, it is imperative that India look ahead and begin developing technologies and platforms like the AMCA,” the officer adds. “We cannot forever be a buyer of aircraft that are conceptualized, designed by others and simply assembled or license-built here.”
A senior scientist at the AMCA directorate in Bengaluru says, “we have the fourth-generation Tejas on the one hand. But evolutionary technologies we are developing for the AMCA are on the cutting edge. They hope to be comparable with the best in the world. If we need a little help along the way, in the interests of pragmatism, cost and time, we will study the feasibility of cooperation. But this ideally needs to be a fully Indian program. Sensitive stealth technologies will not be shared by foreign technology companies.”
A brief list of the ambitious technologies with which India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) hopes to equip the AMCA includes a panoramic active-matrix cockpit display, triplex fly-by-light architecture with an optical-fiber-based digital flight-control computer, and serpentine air intakes to suppress radar signature.
Describing the AMCA as a “fifth-generation-plus” platform, Defense Research and Development Organization chief Vijay Saraswat says that “work on the AMCA will begin soon. This will involve identifying technologies and systems for the aircraft.”
Saraswat has also appealed to Indian private-sector companies to support and get involved in the program. Industry executives indicate that aircraft makers including Saab, Dassault and EADS have expressed a willingness to consult with the ADA on the AMCA concept to speed things along. A formal selection of possible foreign technologies could happen this year.