India’s 5th Generation fighter jet program is entering Preliminary design stage, as been confirmed to at Aero India 2017. Preliminary design stage in Industrial terms is called as a critical bridge between Concept stage and Detail design stage which means the focus has now shifted to creating a general framework upon which project will be executed.

While DRDO has received 231 crores of funds to carry out initial Research and Development for Ghatak UCAV and AMCA Program, AMCA is still waiting for final Budgetary and official sanctions from Prime Ministers Office (PMO).

DRDO has confirmed that it will be given an official Seven-year deadline to complete Developmental work and prepare first Technological Demonstrator (TD) aircraft of AMCA for its first flight by 2025. DRDO also has requested 7-9 years to complete Second Phase of the project which involves trials and testing and also shift from Technological Demonstrator aircraft to initial Prototypes and a gradual shift to Pre-Production aircraft all within this timeline.

Official deadlines are as per current Industrial standards usually associated with such Advance and a complex next-generation fighter jet. was informed that due to LCA-Tejas experience developmental agencies involved are confident that they will be able to stick to the official deadline and Indian Air Force who will be the primary user of the jet has shown confidence in the project after carrying out hectic and detailed initial round of discussions with the various agencies.

Since Indian Navy to has expressed interest in carrier-borne variant of AMCA Combat jet, DRDO is planning to hold separate discussion with Navy’s High Command and also carry out detail feasibility study on current AMCA design to see if it can be adopted for Carrier operations from aircraft carriers in both STOBAR and CATOBAR Configuration as initially requested by Indian Navy .
SAAB and Boeing both have offered to partner with India in the development of India’s 5th Generation fighter jet program if India selects Gripen-E or F-18 Super Hornet under their Make in India proposal first.

On the Engine front, An open tender is likely to be called in due time since AMCA will have a requirement for 110kN Thrust class engine which is Quique class category since developers have kept additional 10 kN requirement from the engine for future growth proposed of the jet. GE Aviation has offered India it’s F414 Enhanced Engine which can generate 116 kN Thrust Class and Eurojet has offered EJ200 with EJ2x0 enhanced upgrade Thrust Class engine and Snecma has also offered M88-4E engines used in Dassault Rafale which doesn’t meet AMCA Thrust requirements but enhanced variant might be offered once tender is issued.

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