Friday, March 15, 2013

Indian Indigenous Stealth Fighter Program Takes a Step Forward

India has unveiled an updated design for its so-called fifth-generation fighter concept, known as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

Representations of the fighter have changed often in the last few years. But the 1:8-scale model of the concept displayed at last month's Aero India 2013 show in Bengaluru is the final configuration and the one with which the program will proceed.

The twin-engine, stealthy, multirole fighter was first unveiled at the Aero India show in 2009, in the form of a metal wind-tunnel model. At the show in 2011, a reshaped model revealed an F-22-like appearance.

The final design, or at least the one the concept designers have put out this year, is strongly reminiscent of the Northrop Grumman YF-23 prototype that lost the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition to the Lockheed YF-22 in 1991 in what became the F-22 program.

The AMCA's new fuselage is stretched, with symmetric trapezoidal wings, notably losing the leading-edge extensions that were once part of the design. The aircraft will have an internal weapons bay and fully indigenous stealth technologies now under development, including radar-absorbent paint and composites.

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