A model of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) on display.
BENGALURU (PTI): DRDO is pushing ahead with its plan to develop an Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft and is in talks with top international firms to zero in on an engine for the same, a senior official has said.
The project, which is for a single-engine, twin-seater aircraft, is on track and the design configuration has been frozen, K Tamilmani, Chief Controller R&D (Aero) of DRDO, said Thursday on the sidelines of the Aero India air show.
Stating that the basic technology required for executing the AMCA project was available with it, he said DRDO was building on the capabilities and experience gathered in the development of the Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.
AMCA would be a medium fifth-generation fighter aircraft, Tamilmani said, adding that the first four prototypes are expected in 2019.
The basic design configuration has been frozen after wind- tunnel testing and there are three critical technologies to be developed -- stealth, thrust vectoring and super cruise, he said.
For thrust vectoring, DRDO is partnering with Russia, which is known for its capabilities on the Sukhoi aircraft, he said.
The senior DRDO official said that super cruise requires a high-capacity engine of 110KN and hence talks are on with international engine manufacturers like GE and others.
There are 90KN engines available in the market which can be upgraded and DRDO is likely to zero in on a partner within six months, he said.
Engine manufacturing is a specialised sector which only a handful of countries have mastered. Even the Tejas is powered by a GE engine.
The DRDO official said that if the joint development and production of an engine, as envisaged with the US under the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative, does take place, then nothing would be better than that.
Meanwhile, asked if the project would affect the collaboration with Russia for developing a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft, Tamilmani replied in the negative, saying DRDO has minimal role in that endeavour.