India Builds Indigenous 5th-Gen Fighter Jets

India Builds Indigenous 5th-Gen Fighter Jets

India Ends Reliance on Foreign Fighter Jets with Indigenous AMCA Development

In a significant move towards self-reliance in defense, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared a proposal to develop a fifth-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA). This domestically designed fighter jet will fulfill the futuristic needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The AMCA, boasting supersonic cruise speed and deep penetration capabilities, marks a major leap for India’s aviation industry. With an estimated initial cost of Rs 15,000 crore, this project follows the success of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas program. The AMCA development signifies a major boost for the “Make in India” initiative in the defense sector.

Shifting Gears from Foreign Reliance

Previously, India relied heavily on foreign suppliers like France and Russia to meet its fighter jet requirements. The IAF currently operates a diverse fleet of over 1,700 aircraft, including more than 900 combat jets, with a majority being of foreign origin. This included 36 Rafale jets from France, with a potential future purchase of 26 more.

LCA Tejas Paves the Way

The LCA Tejas project marked a turning point for indigenous aircraft development. This lightweight, multirole fighter serves for air combat, offensive air support, reconnaissance, and anti-ship operations. Notably, Tejas is the first domestically designed, developed, and manufactured twin-seat fighter jet in India. The IAF inducted the first Tejas variant in 2016, with two squadrons currently operational. A significant order of 83 LCA Mk 1A jets is underway, with deliveries expected to begin by March-end this year. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is ramping up production capacity from 8 to 16 aircraft per year by 2025, with further plans to reach 24 aircraft annually in the coming years.

A Leap into the Future with AMCA

Building upon the success of the LCA Tejas, India embarks on the ambitious AMCA project. This medium-weight jet will incorporate advanced stealth features, bolstering the IAF’s airpower and placing India amongst a select few nations with fifth-generation fighter technology. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and HAL will collaborate on building five AMCA prototypes, with support from private Indian industries.

Looking Ahead

The Army and the Coast Guard will be receiving 34 Dhruv advanced light helicopters, which were approved by the CCS. Additionally, the IAF is pursuing the acquisition of 114 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (MRFA) in a separate deal valued at around $18 billion.

India’s decision to develop the AMCA signifies a strategic shift towards self-sufficiency in defense manufacturing. This ambitious project holds immense potential for technological advancement and strengthens India’s position as a major player in the global aerospace industry.

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