SOURCE: ABHOY ROY / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Recently at Aero India 2019, ADA for the first time disclosed it’s intentions to develop a Medium Weight Fighter (MWF) based on its LCA-Tejas design elements but it will be, completely new program with little or no major technology borrowed from its predecessor Tejas Mk1/1A and more of its technologies will be borrowed from India’s 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet program which has been under research and development for much longer time then MWF.
According to Dr. Girish Deodhare who is Chief of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the nodal agency in charge of MWF and AMCA fighter development program. Development of MWF was convinced only in 2014-15 period and the whole platform was redesigned and the previous Mk-2 design concept which was just Mk1 air frame with 0.5m fuselage plug has been discarded to allow the platform to be classified as a Medium class aircraft.
Since the 5th generation AMCA program was unofficially commissioned way before MWF was conceived, designers were able to feature in a lot of Radar cross-section (RCS) reduction measures in the air frame design to reduce electromagnetic and infrared signatures of the aircraft with use of carbon composite and thermoplastic composites at the frontal section of the aircraft to achieve better RCS reduction.
At least Four RCS reduction measures will be incorporated in the air frame design so that ” Semi Stealth ” can be achieved with help from the use of fully internal electronic warfare system to defuse radar frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) threats while on the mission. MWF will also get a stealth coating paint which has been developed specifically for the AMCA program but only at certain sections to manage absorption of all radar frequencies.
Critical RCS reduction measures in the air frame will be 1) Wing and Canard edge alignment to reduce drag and also reduce friction heat and improve RF deflection,2) Air intakes ducts will have twisted design so that engine blades can be carefully hidden inside the intake duct. 3) Radar-absorbent materials on the critical sections of the fuselage will be used 4) Sharp edges at front fuselage will also help reduce radar cross-section.
MWF fighter jet program will be replacing entire Mirage 2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar fighter fleet from Indian air force inventory of nearly 200 jets and since it will need to be operated in contested environments where stealth features will come in handy to improve the survivability of the platform and the pilot. MWF cannot be classified as a stealth aircraft but measures to reduce its RCS will ensure its survivability.
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