Dr. Girish Deodhare, Director General, ADA speaking to the Indian media has confirmed that flexibility studies of Carrier based 5th generation fighter aircraft based on AMCA design have been completed and the flexibility study report has been accepted by Indian Navy and the program is set to enter design phase by end of this year. Indian Navy in 2016, had approached ADA to develop a carrier deck version of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and soon flexibility studies were commissioned in 2017 to see if it is viable to convert Airforce-AMCA design into Carrier based 5th generation fighter aircraft.

While ADA is tight-lipped on proposed changes which AMCA will have to go through to be converted into a Carrier based 5th generation fighter aircraft, Industrial sources close to have said that ADA is well aware of challenges that it will face in the program and is counting on Navy Mark-2 program to provide necessary experience that it believes will act as a stepping stone towards the development of N-AMCA program.

ADA at Aero India 2019 had showcased the final design of the proposed, Navy Mark-2 which company will start working on by the end of 2020. Navy Mark-2 is a single seater fighter compatible with existing aircraft carriers operated by Indian Navy including INS Vikrant (IAC-1) which will enter service in 2021. Navy Mark-2 has gone through design and configuration changes based on the feedback of the Navy Mk1 flight test records used as Technology Demonstrator for the Navy Mark-2 program.

Defense analysts Ranesh Rajan believes N-AMCA will require larger wing area along with Horizontal Tail area for Short Carrier takeoffs and landings. strengthening of the undercarriage along with landing gear will also be required. Navy most likely will opt for Wing fold design to use under deck storage facility on the aircraft carrier. N-AMCA might have design cues from AF-AMCA program but will be a different Beast altogether under the skin, as seen in Navy Mark-2 and MCF-Mk2 programs where striking similarities are limited to only outer design cues.

N-AMCA program is still under advanced stages of pre-development and will only be ready for production post-2030 and is likely to serve onboard INS Vishal (IAC-2) a 65000-tonne conventional class aircraft carrier which Indian Navy will develop post commissioning of INS Vikrant (IAC-1) into its fleet.


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