The Indian government is expected to grant approval to the Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), the country’s fifth-generation fighter program, in the second half of 2021.
India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has set an aggressive target for the program, with the futuristic stealth aircraft going into production by 2027 to 2030, according to a statement from IAF chief RKS Bhaduaria earlier this year.
Talking to Hindustan Times in February this year, Bhaduaria didn’t rule out the possibility of the stealth fighter being equipped with directed energy weapons, including the integration of sixth-generation technologies and superior anti-missile systems.
AMCA will come with fifth-generation stealth design features, although “a lot more can happen with the sensors, weapons, overall reach, and the aircraft’s capability,” he added.
IAF plans to deploy around 120 stealth aircraft to its fleet by 2032 when AMCA is expected to be ready for induction. Stealth will form an important element of air combat, with the dominance of electromagnetic warfare playing a central role in future warfare.
Assisted through AI-based systems, AMCA will come with multi-sensor data fusion (MSDF) and 3D audio for enhanced situational awareness, characteristic of fifth-generation warfare.