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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s ADA is exploring the development of both manned and unmanned variants of its 5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. While the manned version awaits final funding approval, DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has proposed an unmanned AMCA concept – a potentially groundbreaking technology.

The Unmanned AMCA, if developed, would be the first of its kind – a 5th generation fighter jet controlled entirely by an “Electronic Pilot” and ground commands. This eliminates the need for a human pilot onboard, potentially reducing risks and offering tactical advantages.

However, the Indian Air Force (IAF) reportedly remains cautious about the unmanned variant. While the manned AMCA is expected to have features like automatic take-off and landing aided by an electronic pilot, this technology might be incorporated into a later MkII variant.

Currently, the IAF prioritizes the development of the manned AMCA, emphasizing the continued need for human control in its fighter jets. Discussions between the IAF and ADA regarding the manned version are ongoing, while the unmanned variant remains on the back burner.

This development highlights the ongoing debate surrounding the future of aerial warfare. While unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are playing an increasingly prominent role, the complete removal of human control from advanced fighter jets remains a complex and controversial issue.

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