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India’s ambitious AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) program recently received a critical boost with CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) clearance for development. However, the journey to deploying this 5th generation fighter jet heavily relies on the Tejas MkII program, acting as a technological stepping stone and crucial “feeder” program.

The Tejas MkII program goes beyond being just an upgraded version of the Tejas fighter jet. It serves as a vital test bed for several advanced technologies destined for the AMCA. This not only reduces risks associated with untested systems in the AMCA but also streamlines the development process.

A significant aspect of this technological bridge is the extensive sharing of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) between the Tejas MkII and AMCA. These LRUs are essentially the building blocks of an aircraft’s systems, and by sharing them, India ensures a smoother transition and reduces development costs for the AMCA.

The Tejas MkII program will be the first to test and refine several cutting-edge technologies that will eventually be integrated into the AMCA. These include:

  • Wide Area Display (WAD): Providing pilots with enhanced situational awareness through a panoramic view.
  • Sensor Fusion: Integrating data from various sensors for a more comprehensive picture of the battlefield.
  • Side-stick Controller: Offering improved ergonomics and pilot comfort during maneuvers.
  • Electronic Pilot: An artificial intelligence-based system assisting pilots with flight control and decision-making.
  • Digital Flight Control Computer (DFCC): Ensuring precise and stable flight control.
  • Weapons Management Computer: Managing and delivering a diverse range of weaponry with accuracy.
  • Auxiliary Computer: Providing additional processing power for onboard systems.
  • Unified Video and Data Recorder: Capturing critical flight data and video footage for analysis and training.

Beyond shared LRUs, the Tejas MkII will boast a “Smart Cockpit” featuring advanced displays and human-machine interface (HMI) for intuitive pilot interaction. Additionally, it will be equipped with an upgraded Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar based on the Uttam AESA developed for the Tejas Mk1A. This radar will be further optimized using GAN (Gallium Nitride ) technology for the AMCA program, enhancing its detection and tracking capabilities.

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