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The recent flurry of “visiting sessions and meetings” between civilian and military leaders from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and South Korea has intensified speculation about a potential partnership for the KF-21 “Boramae” fighter jet program. This development could present an interesting opportunity for India’s own 5th generation fighter program, the AMCA.

The KF-21 “Boramae” is currently classified as a 4.5 generation fighter due to its lack of an internal weapons bay, a key feature of true 5th generation aircraft. While a Block III variant with an internal bay is planned for the 2030s, this timeframe coincides with the expected introduction of India’s AMCA MkI, a true 5th generation fighter from the outset.

For the Gulf nations seeking immediate advanced fighter capabilities, the KF-21 might be an attractive option due to its earlier availability. However, the AMCA offers the promise of superior stealth technology and next-generation avionics, potentially making it a more future-proof option.

Indian defense officials could reach out to their counterparts in the Gulf nations, highlighting the AMCA’s potential and offering collaboration opportunities. Joint development or technology transfer agreements could be explored.

India can showcase the progress made on the AMCA program, including successful test flights and technological advancements. Highlighting the AMCA’s projected earlier availability compared to the Block III KF-21 could be a strategic advantage.

While the AMCA presents a compelling option, India needs to address some challenges. The AMCA is still under development, and its final capabilities and timelines need to be clearly communicated.India might need to address concerns regarding its experience in developing and deploying such complex aircraft. Partnering with established aerospace companies could bolster its credibility.