Q: At the same time given that the Americans, have started preliminary studies on sixth generation fighters, and are producing their second fifth generation fighter, what is the status of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project?
Avinash Chander: AMCA is going to be a fifth plus generation aircraft. Once again, the design is getting completed. And we are making a detailed feasibility study which has to get accepted. Broad parameters and configuration have been generally agreed upon. We are looking to complete this part within a year or two and then move further.
Q: But Dr Chander don't you think the engine issue could become an impediment to quick progress on this program as well?
Avinash Chander: For the moment, we are planning to import the engine, either through a joint development or through an agreement. In any system today, it is impossible to have a zero foreign exchange component. What matters is the IP of the total aircraft, which is Indian. In that there will be components that you might be buying from elsewhere, because it is more cost effective. There are ICs that you will be buying anyway, but what you make with those ICs is ultimately your system, your design.
Q: But in the defence domain there are operational security considerations...
Avinash Chander: Well, as far as the engine is concerned, yes. But then that is where you have to have a certain relationship, certain equations. And you have to see over a period of time, as to how to secure your supply line. It may be through purchase, it may be through setting up a parallel line, through some in house activities. But once you see the process... then the solutions also evolve.
Do the permutation combinations on that topic.
Not too many players out there. That is, if one is really serious and does not want to risk delays, insecure supply chain, run the risk of older techs creeping in into the proposed engine, promises of the greatest and delivery of something else. Add other good, bad, ugly.
Do the math for yourself.
However, the critical question is what does the IAF want.