SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK
After the Indian Air force (IAF) agreed to induct AMCA Mk1 with older Ge’s F414-INS6 engines with a combined thrust of 196 kN Thrust class instead of the required combined 220 kN Thrust class, IAF officials to idrw.org have confirmed that breather given to the Mk1 program will allow time for finding a right partner joint venture partner to develop a customized engine for the AMCA program.
India has been having parallel talks with the United States and France for co-development of a new engine which can develop a 110 kN Thrust class engine suitable to operate in hot-humid climate conditions of India where the performance of engines is always below par and most of the time while operating from hot-humid conditions where there is noted drop of at least 10kN thrust.
In the 25-tonne class segment, with combined 220 kN Thrust class of engines, Thrust-to-weight ratio (TWR) of the AMCA will be excellent and might seem overkill if it was a 4.5th generation fighter aircraft but AMCA being a stealth aircraft will require to have an engine that is not over-stressed and doesn’t leave too much heat also that it can supercruise over Mach 1 so that it doesn’t affect its stealth characters while being in stealth mode.
IAF and ADA worked on many scenarios and engine thrust requirement and after careful deliberations, it was decided to have the most powerful engine in the segment of any 5th generation program which falls in the 25-tonne class segment to meet operational requirements of IAF and India’s hot-humid conditions.
Due to powerful engines, AMCA will carry nearly 6.5 tonne of Internal fuels which is nearly 1.8 tonnes more than what Dassault Rafale can carry internally. Additional fuel will come in handy if it is mated with the right engine will conservative fuel burn rate that can help AMCA has a Combat radius close to 2000 kms which will allow pilots to remain in the air for longer in Air combat duties and also give deeper reach when to be used in air to ground missions without need for mid-air refuellers which usually are easy to detect will give away position of the stealth fighters when they are refueling.
The new engine when developed will replace the older engine on the Mk1 variant of AMCA and plans are to even replace them on MWF-Mk2 and LCA-Tejas Mk1A when they are needed for an engine change. Each aircraft approximately requires 3.5 times engine change over its air frame flight hours which lasts for 30-40 years so every 10 years LCA-Tejas Mk1A and MWF-Mk2 will require newer engines and when they are due to for new engine they will be swapped with more powerful engines to maintain the domestic production of the new engine and also to lower cost of production. For engine operations, engines will be getting additional safety measures and minor adjustments in the fuel burn rate so that combat ranges are not affected by powerful engines, this will also help aircraft when in Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) it tends to gain weight due to enhancement of capabilities.
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