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The fate of India’s ambitious Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program hangs in the balance as it awaits clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for a staggering ?15,000 crore budget. While the program aims for complete indigenous development, the question of how to involve the private sector remains a key point of contention.

Initial plans for a private-sector consortium to collaborate on the AMCA program seem to have hit a snag. Many Indian aerospace companies expressed reluctance due to factors like lack of experience, high investment with uncertain returns, and the complexity of managing multiple stakeholders.

This has reportedly led the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to consider alternative models. One proposal suggests a single private company taking a majority stake in a joint venture company responsible for assembly, manufacturing, supply chain management, and daily operations. Other private companies would then be tiered suppliers without ownership in the joint venture.

Companies like Boeing and Dassault, along with Saab, have expressed interest in participating in the AMCA program, but only if they secure contracts for the Indian Air Force’s multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) program. However, the MoD remains firm on Indian leadership for the AMCA program.

The AMCA program represents a critical step towards India’s self-sufficiency in advanced fighter jets. Finding the right balance between government oversight and private sector participation will be crucial for its success.

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