The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria spoke at Agenda AajTak on ‘IAF – The Way Ahead’ in a session named India First on 16 Dec 19. He laid out his vision on the IAF’s force structure and capability building in the decades ahead while underscoring the urgent need for indigenization for building a strong and self-reliant Defence capability.

Bhadauria said that while IAF calls the country’s AMCA program as a 5th Generation fighter jet but it will come with technologies which will be categorized as 6th generation technology which will come within next 10-20 years in the AMCA program, hinting that development cycle to keep AMCA technologically relevant will be an ongoing process even when it is ready for production in 2030.

Bhadauria spelled out the need to develop a laser weapon system that could protect fighter jets and other aircraft from incoming threats in the future. He also talked about the need for Artificial Intelligence to be leveraged to control weapon-carrying drones within proximity. He also stressed the need for AMCA to work in tandem with UCAVs (Ghatak) which requires the need for Artificial Intelligence.

While it is still not clear when such technologies will be available for integration in the AMCA, but since it is confirmed that AMCA Mk2 will be ready for production only in 2035, it is expected that if not many at least few of the technologies will be ready by then, specially AMCA’s ability to work in tandem with Ghatak UCAVs which are also under development, as of development of laser weapon system for fighter is already under development and according to a report U.S. Air Force will field a working prototype for aircraft testing by 2021, DRDO is working on ground-based laser weapon system which might be adapted for fighter jets but it will require technologies to downsize the technology to be fit into a fighter jet.

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