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AERO INDIA: Advanced medium combat aircraft first flight likely in 2020

New Delhi has adopted a go-slow approach for its planned Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), which is in the early stages of being designed by India's Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).

"We plan on finalising the configuration by 2018, with a first flight in 2020," says an ADA representative. "The AMCA will draw from what we learn with the [Hindustan Aeronautics-built] Tejas MkI and Tejas MkII."

The 20t AMCA is envisaged as a twin-engined fighter with similar stealth characteristics to the Lockheed Martin F-35. For the first time, the ADA displayed a model of the proposed design for the future fighter at the Aero India show. Outwardly, the aircraft resembles the F-35, with twin canted tails and shaping optimised for low observability.

It will be powered by a future variant of the indigenously developed Gas Turbine Research Establishment Kaveri engine. The Kaveri was originally intended as the powerplant for the Tejas, but was detached from the programme owing to weight and performance issues.

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