India is now finally getting set to launch its most ambitious indigenous military aviation project to build a fifth-generation fighter or the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) with advanced stealth features as well as ‘supercruise’ capabilities.
The case for the full-scale engineering development of the twin-engine AMCA prototypes has been finalized and will be sent for approval to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) by early next year after consultations between the defence and finance ministries, top sources said on Sunday.
Production of fifth-generation jets is an extremely complex and expensive affair, with the American F/A-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning-II Joint Strike Fighter, the Chinese Chengdu J-20 and Russian Sukhoi-57 being the only operational ones around the globe at present.
Experts, however, contend the J-20 and Sukhoi-57 fighters are still somewhat short of being true-blue fifth-generation fighters. The 36 Rafales being inducted by IAF, under the Rs 59,000 crore deal inked with France in September 2016, are 4.5-generation jets.