Unlike most countries, India has no shortage of fighter acquisition programs. Most of the press at Aero India 2011 focused on the Big Three: the long-awaited deliveries of the Tejas light combat aircraft, ever-ongoing competition for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract and the collaboration with Sukhoi on the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).
Perhaps the most interesting of the bunch is the fourth -- the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA). This represents India's goal replace its Sepecat Jajuars and Dassault Mirage 2000s with an indigenous single-seat fighter with stealth characteristics.
Shiv Aroor's excellent LiveFist blog revealed photos of a new AMCA model on display at the Aero India exhibit hall.
Meanwhile, my Singapore-based colleague, Greg Waldron, scored an interview on AMCA with the head of India's Aeronautical Development Agency. After disclosing that a feasibility study on launching the program will be complete by end-year, PS Subramanyam provided some initial specifications:
It will be a 20t aircraft with a 1,000km range, fitting between the 10t, 500km range of the Hindustan Aeronautics Tejas, and the 30t, 1,500km range of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), an Indian variant of the developmental Sukhoi PAK FA.
The MCA will be a single seat fighter. A two seat version will be developed, but primarily as a trainer. A naval variant is not envisaged, but Subramanyam foresees a requirement for a 20t aircraft for India's future indigenous aircraft carriers. A naval variant of the Tejas was rolled out in mid-2010. It is likely to have its first flight this year.