SOURCE: RAJESH AHUJA / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Britain, Italy and Japan are to cooperate in developing a sixth-generation fighter, Few details were available before the scheduled announcement beyond the project’s named Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) and the fact the partners say they plan to have the fighter ready by 2035.
Japanese-European defence program will also see the development of a new engine advanced power and propulsion system that will see designing an electrical starter generator that was fully embedded in the core of a gas turbine engine, now known as the Embedded Electrical Starter Generator.
The electrical embedded starter-generator will save space and provide the large amount of electrical power required by future fighters. Existing aircraft engines generate power through a gearbox underneath the engine, which drives a generator. In addition to adding moving parts and complexity, the space required outside the engine for the gearbox and generator makes the airframe larger, which is undesirable in a stealthy platform.
Japan which had worked on successfully developing XF5, a low bypass turbofan engine and had even initiated work on the XF9 engine with 147.10 kN of Wet thrust still went back to Rolls-Royce to invest in the development of a new engine that will be powering its 6th generation fighter jet program.
Jet engine and 6th gen fighter jet will enter production sometime in 2035-36 and it’s the same time frame when AMCA MkII with new high trust 110kN class of engine was supposed to enter production. India joining this program only for the engine for the AMCA program could have reduced not only its investment but could have also got its hands on the latest next-generation jet engine technology which many countries are not willing to transfer to India.
The engine that will power Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) will be designed to support future power needs and the adoption of energy weapons on fighter jets that require immense power generation requirements. Engine based on M-88 or F-414 that were developed nearly 40 years to be used on a fighter jet that will enter production 15 years from now is clear cut short-sightedness of Indian military planners it needs to have an engine that is not good enough for 5th gen AMCA program but also good for 6th gen fighter jets program.
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