Bengaluru: With a view to modernising the Indian Air Force and giving it more teeth, the Union government may approve indigenous fifth-generation fighter programme, the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA).

To be designed and developed at a cost of Rs 15,000 crore, the production of these aircraft might start in the next 7-8 years. 

“The Indian Air Force’s modernisation map envisages the deployment of around 240 stealth fighters (six squadrons) 2032 onwards, with the stealth planes forming an important element of future air combat,” Hindustan Times quoted officials privy to the development. 

“The first two squadrons will consist of the Mk-1 version of AMCA. The remaining four squadrons will be raised with a more advanced Mk-2 version with a raft of sixth-generation technologies,” it quoted an official as saying.

“The Mk-1 stealth fighters will be powered by American GE 414 engines, with indigenous engines likely to replace the imported power plant in the Mk 2 version. AMCA is a top focus area for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and IAF is firmly backing the project,” said another official.

It is pertinent to recall that IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had expressed his hopes that AMCA would be fitted with 6th generation technologies. 

“It will take Indian research and development and defence manufacturing to a much higher scale in terms of technology. It is imperative that the timeline laid down for the project is practical since breakthrough technologies will be getting implemented and the IAF’s operational plans will depend on it,” Swarajya quoted Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.