The AMCA programme, earlier known as Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA) programme, is an Indian programme to develop a fifth-generation fighter. It began as a parallel programme to the Indo-Russia Sukhoi/HAL FGFA. The AMCA programme was launched in 2010. Although envisioned as a 20-tonne class fighter earlier, now AMCA is 25-tonne class fighter. A feasibility study was launched in October 2010, followed by Project Definition and Preliminary Design phase in 2013. From November 2013 to December 2014, 9 design configurations of AMCA, starting from 3B-01 to 3B-09, were studied using CAD, low-speed - high-speed wind tunnel testing, and radar cross section (RCS) testing. By the end of 2014, configuration 3B-09 was chosen. In 2015, the basic design configuration of AMCA was finalized, and has been accepted by IAF in 2016. As of October 2022, the AMCA is yet to get Cabinet Committee on Security (CSS) approval, which is essential for prototype development. According to Dr A.K. Ghosh, project director of AMCA, "Once the project sanction is received, the prototype can be rolled out in three years and the first flight in one to one and half years after that".
The IAF plan to procure at least 125 AMCA in Mark-1 and Mark-2 configurations. The Mark 2 of AMCA is expected to have a more powerful engine, sixth-generation features and technologies to stay relevant in the coming decades.
In an interview given in 2020, the then Air force Chief R. K. S. Bhadauria stated that "The planning process is already underway for combat systems like optionally manned sixth generation technologies, smart wingman concept, swarm drones, long persistent HALE (High-Altitude Long Endurance) platforms and hypersonic weapons, among others. He also added that it is imperative to incorporate such advanced technologies to keep AMCA relevant. It is also reaffirmed by IAF's current chief Vivek Ram Chaudhari.
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