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AMCA Project’s Critical Funding Hurdles Threaten India’s Fighter Jet Ambitions

By 2028, India's AMCA fifth-generation fighter jet prototype may fly.

The AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) project is highly anticipated in the realm of Indian defense, primarily because India currently lacks advanced fighter jets beyond the Rafale aircraft.

The country does not possess a 5th generation fighter jet, making the AMCA project crucial. While India received proposals from both the United States and Russia to use their fighter jets, the decision was made to develop their own aircraft, minimizing reliance on foreign models.

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AMCA program may experience further delays

Nevertheless, the AMCA program may experience further delays due to pending funding clearance. The Indian Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is struggling to obtain approval from a government committee for this critical project, which is facing regulatory obstacles.

The AMCA represents a cutting-edge stealth fighter, and a prototype is anticipated by 2026. However, they require permission from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), which has been on hold for the past six months, causing concern within the defense community.

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Initially, the estimated budget for the AMCA project was $2 billion. However, in 2023, an additional $5 billion was allocated for engine development, and $1.8 billion for the aircraft prototype. Currently, the Tejas Mark2 is preparing for its rollout from the factory, with plans for its debut in 2024 and full-scale production by 2026.

GE has also received approval and intends to establish engine manufacturing in India for the Tejas aircraft. The progress on the Tejas Mark2 has led to a temporary halt in the AMCA project due to funding clearance issues.

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AMCA is divided into two phases

The development of the AMCA is divided into two phases. Phase 1 will result in the AMCA Mk-1, powered by the US GE-414 engine. Phase 2 will lead to the AMCA Mk2, equipped with an advanced and more potent engine developed in collaboration with an as-yet-undetermined foreign partner.

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According to some sources, the AMCA is classified as a 4.5 generation fighter jet, lacking some features typically found in 5th generation fighter jets, such as full stealth capability, advanced avionics, radar features, and engine capacity. Nonetheless, it boasts two engines and an internal bay for carrying weapons.

The AMCA Mk-1 features limited stealth and draws inspiration from the F-35, which exhibits a reduced rear aspect radio frequency signature but retains suppressed infrared (IR) characteristics.

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Aerospace

Rolls-Royce Launches Test Flights for Revolutionary Pearl 10X Engine

Rolls-Royce Launches Test Flights for Revolutionary Pearl 10X Engine
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Rolls-Royce reports that the company’s dedicated Boeing 747 flying testbed has seen the successful start of the Pearl 10X, their newest aero engine designed for the business aviation industry.

Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, has decided to use this engine only to power their newest flagship, the Falcon 10X. As stated at last year’s Capital Markets Day, the commencement of flight testing represents a significant milestone for both Rolls-Royce and the Pearl 10X programme as the company concentrates on expanding in the business aviation industry.

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The first Rolls-Royce engine to power a Dassault business jet is the Pearl 10X, the newest engine in the state-of-the-art Pearl engine family. The Pearl 10X was chosen by the French aircraft manufacturer as their new flagship model, demonstrating even more of Rolls-Royce’s dominance in the business aviation engine market.

Over the next few months, pilots and flight test engineers from Tucson, Arizona, USA, will put the engine through its paces. The flight test programme will comprise testing of the nacelle’s anti-icing system, in-flight relights, engine performance and handling checks at various speeds and altitudes, and fan vibration tests at various altitudes.

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The new auxiliary gearbox, which enables higher additional power extraction, and the ultra-low emissions ALM combustor, which is compatible with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), have undergone extensive testing as part of the ground-based development programme thus far. The engine will be the most potent business aviation engine in the Rolls-Royce lineup. It exceeded its intended thrust levels during the very first test run. With over 2,300 testing hours successfully completed on the Pearl 10X engine configuration as well as the Advance 2 demonstration, the programme is moving forward at a rapid pace.

With the most economical engine core available for business aircraft, the Advance2 engine, coupled with a high-performance low-pressure system, gives the Pearl 10X an exceptional thrust of over 18,000 lbf. With a 5% increase in economy over the previous generation of Rolls-Royce commercial aviation engines, the Pearl 10X

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Indian HAL delivered two Dornier-228 Transport aircraft to Guyana Defense Force

Indian HAL delivered two Dornier-228 Transport aircraft to Guyana Defense Force
Image:Wikipedia

India celebrates a significant milestone as its first domestically produced aircraft makes its international debut, elevating the reputation of Indian aviation on the global stage.

This achievement reflects India’s determined efforts to penetrate the aerospace industry, building upon its established presence in the automotive sector, which ranks as the world’s third-largest in automobile manufacturing.

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For years, India has strived to establish its aerospace companies globally, aiming to tap into international markets. While endeavors such as the Tejas fighter jet and various helicopter projects have been in pursuit of international customers, success has remained elusive until now.

The recent triumph comes in the form of Indian-built Dornier Aircraft securing its inaugural international order. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) fulfilled the delivery of two Dornier-228 Transport aircraft to the Guyana Defense Forces, marking a significant milestone in India-Guyana bilateral relations.

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This transaction, facilitated by a loan from India, underscores the growing collaboration between the two nations.

The Indian Dornier 228, also recognized as the HAL Dornier 228, is a versatile twin-turboprop aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under license from Dornier GmbH, formerly part of RUAG Aviation in Germany.

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Renowned for its adaptability, this aircraft serves a multitude of roles, from passenger and cargo transportation to maritime surveillance and military operations, cementing its significance in India’s aviation landscape.

In civil aviation, the Indian Dornier 228 plays a pivotal role in regional connectivity, commuter transport, and air ambulance services. Furthermore, its deployment in maritime surveillance operations showcases its capabilities in safeguarding coastal territories, assisting both the Indian Coast Guard and Navy in reconnaissance missions.

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With a versatile configuration and short takeoff and landing capability, the Dornier 228 excels in operating within confined spaces, bolstered by advanced avionics for enhanced operational efficiency and control.

Its robust design ensures longevity, complemented by fuel-efficient turboprop engines that offer extended endurance, facilitating prolonged flights and sustained operations over vast areas without frequent refueling.

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The LCA Tejas Aircraft Crash: Understanding the Reasons – Air Marshal GS Bedi’s Perspective

The LCA Tejas Aircraft Crash: Understanding the Reasons - Air Marshal GS Bedi's Perspective

Air Marshal GS Bedi, a renowned fighter jet pilot and experienced crew member, recently participated in a YouTube interview with Def Talks hosted by Aadi. During the interview, he provided insights into the recent Tejas aircraft crash in Rajasthan, which marks one of the first crashes involving an aircraft from the Tejas family since its production commenced 20 years ago.

Numerous questions have emerged regarding the circumstances surrounding the Tejas aircraft crash and the potential causes of failure. Air Marshal Bedi adeptly addressed these concerns by outlining possible scenarios that could have led to the crash. His expertise shed light on the complexities involved in such incidents and provided valuable perspective on the aviation community’s understanding of the event.

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At the outset, Tejas lacked a simulator and a trainer aircraft for initial training. However, pilots were provided with simulation trials before flying the Tejas aircraft. Initial reviews indicated stability during flight, with the aircraft maintaining a straight glide. However, there was an incident where the aircraft experienced an engine malfunction, prompting the pilot to eject safely.

Pilot Safe Ejections

The decision to eject was made as a precautionary measure, considering the aircraft’s low altitude and steep descent angle. With the aircraft’s altitude dropping rapidly, attempting to balance and land it was deemed too risky. Ejecting ensured the pilot’s safety, as deploying a parachute at such low altitudes could have been disastrous.

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He chose to eject to ensure a safer distance from the ground. The aircraft is at an angle of less than 3 degrees during the approach. At a height of 100 meters, the aircraft is nearly 20 times its length away from the ground. This means the touchdown point will be approximately 4 kilometers ahead.

However, as the altitude decreases, the approach becomes too short due to the rapid descent rate. Consequently, the pilot opts to eject rather than attempt to stabilize the aircraft for a ground landing. If he had not ejected, there’s a high probability that his parachute would have deployed at that low altitude.

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LCA Tejas engine Issue

Investigations revealed the engine malfunction was likely due to lubrication issues or other technical faults. Such split-second decisions underscore the potentially catastrophic outcomes that can result from technical failures.

The pilot involved was highly experienced and well-trained for airshow displays, suggesting timely decision-making. Nevertheless, accidents can stem from technical glitches, human errors, or unforeseen circumstances like bird strikes.

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Air Marshal Bedi emphasized the importance of pilots being trained for emergency situations, including ejecting from the aircraft when control is lost. Despite advancements in technology, technical issues remain unpredictable, necessitating ongoing learning and improvements in aircraft systems.

Today, the Tejas mk1A aircraft completed its inaugural flight at the Bangalore station, marking the dawn of a new, advanced version of the Tejas aircraft. This iteration boasts enhanced avionics and improved aircraft structure.

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