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4th Country To Deploy Stealth Fighters, How Does India’s AMCA Stack-Up Against China’s J-20 Mighty Dragon?

Joe Shearer

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@Joe Shearer You think corruption will/is slow down any natural progression of Tejas and AMCA for India ? I mean we know kickback scandal from Rafale, that might repeat as French might lobby again to push for more Rafale instead of a homegrown solution for next Gen?
Two things - the French are, as always, buttering both sides of their slice of the bread. They will sell as many Rafales as they can; for the rest, they are tying up to make engines, that they know is the weak spot of any Asian country other than Japan and South Korea (although those two seem to have unlimited access to American technology and really don't have to sweat it out).

Second, the corruption will continue unabated. This morning's headline is about an inadvertent and embarrassing letter issued by a local functionary, asking that grain be deposited direct to the Adani silo. Far more than Ambani, it is Adani of the oleaginous smirk who represents the sleaziest side of this government; we make a mistake when we allow ourselves to be revolted by their bigotry and allow them to divert our attention.

Misleading title India is atleast 2 decades away from fielding that one
And how did you come to this interesting time-frame? The Ouija board, perhaps?
 

Goritoes

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Two things - the French are, as always, buttering both sides of their slice of the bread. They will sell as many Rafales as they can; for the rest, they are tying up to make engines, that they know is the weak spot of any Asian country other than Japan and South Korea (although those two seem to have unlimited access to American technology and really don't have to sweat it out).
I think this AMCA might take longer than anticipated, As for French can we really blame them? its nothing personal but pure business as usual.
Second, the corruption will continue unabated. This morning's headline is about an inadvertent and embarrassing letter issued by a local functionary, asking that grain be deposited direct to the Adani silo. Far more than Ambani, it is Adani of the oleaginous smirk who represents the sleaziest side of this government; we make a mistake when we allow ourselves to be revolted by their bigotry and allow them to divert our attention.
Like @SQ8 said that Tejas is overshadowed by massive corruption.
 

Joe Shearer

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Tejas is overshadowed by massive corruption.
That, I suspect, was rhetoric. Oops! That's not what happened - I remember now. There was a genial sneer from someone who asked how much I'd made out of the project, and he observed sardonically that it was not more than an equivalent Pakistani project might yield! The equivalent of a Ranji late, late flick to leg-side.

There was never any smack of corruption about the Tejas. The Air Force side was initially coordinated by Philip Rajkumar, and he was as straight as they come. The boffins were headed up by Kota Harinarayan, who was totally focussed on getting things done. I'm not sure where there was even scope for corruption; the engine was a given, the area of weakness was the AESA radar, but that was overcome in a clumsy way. The radar people within DRDO are an exceptionally competent bunch, and they had a ground version of AESA aeons before someone stuck his neck around the door and told them to miniaturise. This is where the public sector mentality comes in; a private sector organisation would have mapped the ADA inside out, and would have been pushing a miniaturised version through the windows.

The trouble with Tejas was specification creep. I'd like to leave it at that. Yes, one more thing, the lowest bid mania, due to other episodes earlier, that led to a delay in acquiring the Meteor and MBDA's other weapons until we had our own Uttam running and installed. Corruption wasn't the issue.

Incidentally, except for integration issues due to lack of experience, the Tejas is shaping better and better. It's just that I don't agree with the philosophy behind the Mark 2.
 
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Joe Shearer

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I did not state corruption regarding the Tejas - incompetence yes…especially in project management @Joe Shearer
Yes, I realised that on re-reading your quips. On target, as usual.

A word of explanation: the difference between the behaviour of the PAF and the IAF seems to boil down to the willingness of the planners in the former to accept reality and very quickly get to grips with what is possible, when. That is a trait shared by their Army; it is difficult to figure out what the Navy is doing.

In contrast, both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army have been prone to dwelling excessively on the goodies that they see displayed in sales promotional materials. If the specs for the Tejas had been handed in quickly, if they had not been changed constantly, there would have been a perfectly functional aircraft that could then have been upgraded one version at a time. Unfortunately, this never happened; there was always that hankering after the totally mystic Holy Grail, without taking on board the realisation that it was never the equipment, it was about a multitude of other factors on and off the battlefield. Watching older officers become uncertain and agree weakly to the radical positions re-established by each succeeding generation of young bloods was painful.

It is also true that the Indian services face a recalcitrant set of bureaucrats; even today the RAPIDs are not effective because bureaucrats have seen these balancing purchases as unnecessary, the flip side of the young pilot who wants the latest, latest, latest.....these people I have watched display the most incredible bad attitude towards equipment specifications and justifications for purchase.

There was only one major failure during the Tejas project, and that was the failure of GTRE. We were involved (at a very late stage) in digitising the blueprints and testing for clearances; the first day we got everything read into digital form and tried it out gave us the clear answer.
 
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Luosifen

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When China and the USA deploy 6th gen aircraft, wouldn't AMCA just get advertised as a 6th gen as well (and get thrown back into development hell)?
 

K_Bin_W

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India has caught itself in a mess of fighter jet programs without delivering a single project properly.

Tejas, Tejas-MK1A, Tejas-MK2, Naval LCA, Twin seat Tejas, OCRA, TEDBF, MWF, AMCA. Just name it. It just goes to show how confused and ill-planned their aviation industry is actually.

They know very well they don't have capacity to develop a 5th or 5+ fighter as they are calling it. So obviously, Now they have tied up MMRCA 2.0 to ToT in critical areas from winner of MMRCA 2.0, possibly France. But as of now France has transferred ZERO technology under Rafale deal. And France fell out with Airbus in FCAS, don't think they will entertain Indians without milking them properly.

Conclusion: This article is in the same pattern we used to hear when Tejas and JF-17 were in development in early 2000's. Every day a new garbage article how Tejas will be the next big thing, replacing all Mig-21/Mig-27 by 2010, better than Mirage 2000 and F-16, and JF-17 will not even be near to it. Nothing came out of it. India don't have capacity to build any 4th/5th gen fighter and AMCA will just be another stale lemon unless India will partner up (read pay) with France to basically do everything for them. I don't see a prototype happening before 2030 anyway.

Misleading title India is atleast 2 decades away from fielding that one
2 Indian decades is times 10.. India is a long way from assembling one.
 

waz

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The engine is the biggie here. These projects need tens of billions in investment hence why the US and China can come up with them.
 

CAPRICORN-88

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India’s AMCA ‘Stealth Fighters’ Enter Production Stage, How Does It Jet Stack-Up Against China’s J-20 Mighty Dragon?

BySakshi Tiwari

March 21, 2022

The fifth-generation J-20 ‘Mighty Dragon’ is a prized possession of the Chinese PLA Air Force. With India’s prototype of AMCA going into production, will the Chinese stealth fighters have a potential challenger right across the border?

The Chengdu J-20 is a single-seat, multi-role stealth fighter that serves as a symbol of China’s growing air power as the plane has been featured prominently in military parades and air shows across the country.

Last year, the J-20 reportedly entered mass production after replacing the Russian AL-31F Turbofan engine with a domestically built WS-10. According to Chinese plans, the current WS-10C engine is further to be replaced by the latest and more advanced WS-15.

Chinese jets have traditionally been powered by Russian-made engines. China has long sought to develop its own engine and gain maximum flexibility, freeing itself from the constraints imposed by Russian engines. The successful integration of WS-15 on J-20s could be the next big breakthrough in self-sufficiency for China.

China’s next-generation turbofan engine, the WS-15, which is to dramatically boost the performance of the J-20 stealth fighter jet, has completed rigorous testing.

The WS-15 engine has undergone several tests, according to China Central Television (CCTV), after the WS-10, China’s first independently developed high performance, high thrust turbofan engine with afterburner, was installed on fighter jets such as the J-10, J-11, and J-20 since 2016.


The WS-15 has a low bypass ratio and is capable of thrust vector control, according to CCTV. It was developed for fifth-generation heavy and medium fighter jets. The J-20s were supposed to be integrated with the WS-15, but due to test failures, China decided to stick to the WS-10C.

The Chinese military now has a fleet of roughly 50 J-20s. New J-20s will be equipped with the WS-15 engine, said a report of South China Morning Post.

China has been relentlessly working to close the gap with the US Air Force and the upgrades that it is carrying out to the WS-10 engines are aimed at challenging the F-22 Raptors of the US.

This year, China will begin upgrading the J-20 engines by incorporating thrust vectoring technology to get it closer to the performance of the American F-22 Raptor, as previously reported by EurAsian Times.

View attachment 825894
File Image: J-20
The J-20 has also often been compared with another fifth-generation fighter Aircraft in the US arsenal, the F-35. China is reportedly on track to increase the production of its J-20 aircraft. This was perhaps in response to the American plan to field more than 2,000 F-35 stealth jets across its three armed services, besides Japan’s multibillion-dollar F-35 acquisition.

China had dispatched J-20s to air bases in Xinjiang following a bloody encounter with Indian forces at Galwan in eastern Ladakh in June 2020.

India’s AMCA Warplane

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently announced the proverbial “metal cutting” for the first prototype of the country’s next-generation fighter jet, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft.

The maiden flight of the AMCA is scheduled for 2024-25, with serial production beginning in 2030, EurAsian Times had reported.


According to reports, the Indian Air Force has committed to 40 AMCA Mk-1 fighters, as well as at least 100 Mk-2 variants and some unmanned aircraft. Like the Chinese J-20, the stealthy AMCA is also going to have ‘super cruise’ capabilities.

With AMCA, India will enter the exclusive club of countries with fifth-generation stealth warplanes. So far, the US (F-35 and F-22 Raptors), Russia (Su-57), and China (J-20) have built such fighters.

AMCA_model_displayed_during_Aero_India_2021.jpg

An AMCA model displayed during Aero India 2021 (Wikimedia Commons)
Although it is unknown how the AMCA, which is yet to be manufactured, will exactly compete with the Chinese J-20,

According to Aeronautical Development Agency chief Girish Deodhare, the AMCA will be available in stealth and non-stealth variants and will be produced in two stages: an AMCA MK1 with an existing GE414 afterburning turbofan engine that powers the LCA Tejas, and an AMCA Mk2 with a new, more powerful engine that will be developed in collaboration with a foreign player.


India and France are now reportedly close to reaching an agreement for the joint development of a 125KN engine that will power AMCA. The deal is expected to be signed in the near future.

Some experts have speculated that the Indian Air Force would model its futuristic aircraft AMCA on the American F-35. If true, this could ensure greater interoperability between the Indian and US Air Forces and could come as a massive headache for the PLAAF.

AMCA will be a single-seat all-weather swing-role stealth fighter jet with twin turbofan engines. It will be capable of a wide range of operations, including air superiority, ground strikes, enemy air defense suppression, and electronic warfare. China is reportedly working on a two-seat variant of the J-20.

AMCA is designed for super-cruise capability and a reduced radar cross-section. Both these features that the AMCA strives to include are already present in the J-20 Mighty Dragon. Further, J-20 took its first flight a decade ago and was inducted in 2017 whereas the AMCA is yet to see the light of the day.

The 20-ton AMCA fighter would be able to carry one-and-a-half tons of armament in internal weapon bays in its stealth mode. The non-stealth variant would carry weapons, targeting and observation pods, as well as fuel tanks on external pylons under the wings and fuselage.

Further, like the indigenous LCA Tejas that wields Python missiles, Astra BVRAAM, Vympel R-77, and R-73 air-to-air missiles, the Kh-59ME TV guided stand-off missile and the Kh-59MK laser-guided stand-off missiles, the AMCA could be integrated with similar weapons. Just as India sought HAMMER missiles for LCA, advanced missiles could also be imported for the AMCA.

Indian media reported that the AMCA could be equipped with Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) just as China’s J-20 is believed to get the DEWs, as previously revealed by a Global Times report.

The AMCA’s avionics suite will comprise modern radars and electronic warfare capabilities with “sixth-generation characteristics.” The plane will have a very low radar cross-section for better stealth, as well as AI-based technologies and an upgraded cockpit display with a touch screen interface.

All these specifications are expected to put the aircraft on par with the J-20. According to reports, the AMCA will also incorporate thrust-vectoring engines. The J-20 is on course to upgrade its WS-10 engines with thrust vectoring technology while the WS-15 already possesses this technology aimed at achieving better maneuverability.

Both the Chinese J-20 and Indian AMCA have air superiority as their primary objectives. While the Chinese Air Force developed its fifth-generation fighter years ago, the addition of a similar aircraft to IAF’s arsenal could create a balance of power between the two adversaries that are locked in a prolonged border standoff.

AMCA is still stuck at the design stage.

So this article by Euroasian Times is a complete waste of time.
 

SQ8

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Yes, I realised that on re-reading your quips. On target, as usual.

A word of explanation: the difference between the behaviour of the PAF and the IAF seems to boil down to the willingness of the planners in the former to accept reality and very quickly get to grips with what is possible, when. That is a trait shared by their Army; it is difficult to figure out what the Navy is doing.

In contrast, both the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army have been prone to dwelling excessively on the goodies that they see displayed in sales promotional materials. If the specs for the Tejas had been handed in quickly, if they had been changed constantly, there would have been a perfectly functional aircraft that could then have been upgraded one version at a time. Unfortunately, this never happened; there was always that hankering after the totally mystic Holy Grail, without taking on board the realisation that it was never the equipment, it was about a multitude of other factors on and off the battlefield. Watching older officers become uncertain and agree weakly to the radical positions re-established by each succeeding generation of young bloods was painful.

It is also true that the Indian services face a recalcitrant set of bureaucrats; even today the RAPIDs are not effective because bureaucrats have seen these balancing purchases as unnecessary, the flip side of the young pilot who wants the latest, latest, latest.....these people I have watched display the most incredible bad attitude towards equipment specifications and justifications for purchase.

There was only one major failure during the Tejas project, and that was the failure of GTRE. We were involved (at a very late stage) in digitising the blueprints and testing for clearances; the first day we got everything read into digital form and tried it out gave us the clear answer.
On this the PN is the most pragmatic ( perhaps biased because I know a lot of them and they have had the underdog mentality for a long time) when it comes to implementing changes. Yes, the disease of the star(or bar) gets them too as they go up the ranks and become self indulgent laad saabs but its genetic and some escape it. They have had a change in type of leadership as well with demographic changes coming about too from greater education so that has had its impact as well.

Unfortunately nothing compares to the polish of the officers and gentlemen of the 60-70s inductees of both the PN&IN but then competencies weren’t guaranteed then either.

As far as changing requirements go, the one advantage the JF-17 had was the PAF decoupling avionics from the airframe which is now yielding dividends. In addition, they basically stuffed the F-16 cadre into the project to do an information and design requirements dump on Chengdu. Going as far as to provide F-16 throttle and stick controls for the Chinese to replicate ergonomics on.

My guess is that HAL had similar inputs from M2k folks because the poor jet would be a greater mess if you had Mig lifers providing design cues. There is dassault somewhere but i take the word on indigenous design.

Either way, this jet should have been deployed in the hundreds by now even if it was with just Derby’s and Pythons to prevent poor IAF guys having to take a noisy Mig up in the air. That is where you not just have project failure but near criminal neglect just because you suddenly made a lot of money.

Pardon the analogy but India’s good economics and monetary fortunes have turned its military into a bit of upstarts in showrooms. Which would have been fine since the Arabs do this as well except then the cultural “financial sensibility” when you realize the price tag of what you want takes over and at the end you spend 15 years(when did the MMRCA start?) deciding what and when to buy while your primary threat is able to eventually scrounge up a comparable platform anyway because you gave it all the time in the world.

P.s One thing that was common between the JF-17 and MKI.. screens that shut off mid flight.
 

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