Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatross?

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shiv
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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 29 Jun 2015 10:06

dhiraj wrote:
shiv wrote:2021? wtf?


Sir, unfortunately this in itself is the most optimistic timeline.
We don't even have a proto[even a scale model] rollout of MK.2

Dhiraj - I think it was in 2011 (or maybe 2009) that I personally took a photo of an AMCA mock up and even uploaded to BR Aero India gallery. If the DRDO with hundreds of scientists and engineer and hundreds of crores of funding cannot make a plane shaped object fly in 10 yeas it's not just a shame, it's a scam. A sc-AMCA on the lines of 2G and Telgi.

A plane must fly. You need to get it off the ground soon and prove that the shape you have in mind works. Wind tunnel tests and computer simulations are more complex and ultimately never the final answer which has to be flight.

Already I have seen 2-3 different iterations and shape changes of the SC-AMCA. Simply test flying different configurations is easy and cheap. Of after 10 years the damn plane does not do required AOA or STR or ITR, spin, stall, etc it will be too late. Something needs to be built soon. Not after 5 or 10 years. We are being scammed.

I think DRDO/HAL need to be questioned about this next Aero India (2 years away!!). This is terrible.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby deejay » 29 Jun 2015 10:10

AMCA is another step - It is not the first and neither the final. Just as everything else India will have to progressively get better and better at R & D. Some efforts will succeed and some may not. The list of failures given above is an indication of how difficult it is to develop successful R & D set up and then put developments into production. That list of failure does not indicate unfulfilled potential but it clearly shows how difficult is the learning curve.

Within those failures were sparks of success - The HF 24 Marut did enter service - in small nos. but it was a first. The Kiran (HPT 16) is still flying. The HPT 32 saw a few generation of IAF pilots trained on a home grown system. The LCA will see the light of day. How many? That is a question not related to R & D now but decision making.

On the AMCA and the technologies needed for 05th Gen what are the positives -
- AMCA as rightly pointed out will not go through the development cycle for control laws.
- AMCA will have its AESA, IFR, BVR, present and up coming weapons packages ready for it.
- AMCA will not be held up due to parallel Indian engine development programme. Known Engine makers are being contracted from the begining.
- Many testing facilities non existent at the time of LCA development are now ready and available. A few more are needed and will probably get ready for the AMCA.
- We do have continuity in design - development and production expertise built with LCA Mk1, continued with LCA Mk 2 moving on to the AMCA. In case of Marut, this was lost.

On the technologies not available:
- I have seen Indian S- shaped air intakes for the 5th gen aircraft (An important aspect of Stealth)
- Engine manufacturers are being sought
- Supercruise will be a function of the above
- Thrust Vectoring - My take first get AMCA without thrust vectoring and try TV in the next block (To me this appears to be a big stumbling block going ahead)
- Radar absorbent material / paint. Low RCS - I think there is a lot of information not in public domain here but the ongoing IUSAV programme will be supported by research in this direction. Same will be available for AMCA.
- Software/s for network centric warfare - I have no information on this side and I think it will be the critical force multiplier for platforms like AMCA.

There is a lot of work happening in developing the aircraft and the technologies around it but not the actual aircraft model.

Well, till the engine is not finalised how do we intend the finalise the exact model? Since, I am not a science person so I am not sure but we will need to know exactly the dimensions of the engine to finalise the size / shape of the final aircraft and then make a scaled model of the aircraft.

IMO, AMCA is the right step - We must pursue the project to catch up with the leaders - and we have a lot to catch up. The continuity provided to our research labs is a necessity. The challenge is to shorten the time span from idea to product. This will require speeding up everything - but mainly speeding up decision making. Hope the AMCA programme has better Project Management.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby srin » 29 Jun 2015 10:35

There are two requirements: a fifth-gen plane in next 5 years and our own sixth-gen plane in 20 years.

For the immediate operational requirements, for sure get a lot of PAKFAs. And put our flight computer, integrate with our missiles etc and call it FGFA or whatever. Just don't expect to learn much from it.

We do need a science project (as the poll refers to it) - there is a lot of basic science (metallurgy for RAM and engines, aerodynamics) that is necessary that we don't seem to have now and we need to start investing in them now. That's where the foundation for the next 20 years lie and we need to get that right.

But let's keep the time expectation low - assume something entering service in 2030

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby srin » 29 Jun 2015 10:42

shiv wrote:2021? wtf?

A scale model prototype can be flown in less than two months from now and early results of what flight control laws ought to be like can be made starting from there. In fact 5 different variants can be flown, and crashed if need be.

Planes need to fly. Flying is the only thing that sets a plane part from any other vehicle. Not guns. Not missile. Not radar. You can build Taj Mahal with radar, guns and missiles as succeed because it does not need to fly. A plane must fly. If teh first flight is going to be 2021 - that is already 30-40 years behind. We are heading up shit creek IMO. This is simply not good enough.


Yes and no.
Yes - the designers would want to understand if they can translate the wind tunnel and simulated results to real world and make changes sooner than later.
No - because visible activity doesn't necessarily equate to productivity. And the risk that we might adopt the "concurrency" concept of the F-35 with its disastrous results.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Philip » 29 Jun 2015 11:00

The problem is goalpost shifting. If the upgraded MKIs can carry 3 BMos-M,whose range is allegedly beyond the brochure/MTCR range limits,will an AMCA be able to carry those internally? The accent is shifting to what munitions can be carried rather than the platform itself. If a larger stealth fighter,FGFA whatever, can carry more exotic munitions,possess a greater range and endurance,then why do we then need an AMCA? Won't more Rafales or other non-stealthy med. sized aircraft ,or even LCA MK-3 do? Then comes the big Q what is its engine? That is the key to any fighter programme. The AMCA will have to get an engine from abroad with all the strings and levers attached with it. Finally,unless success is achieved on the LCA front, the AMCA may turn out to be what this td's title asks!

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby srin » 29 Jun 2015 11:33

Not sure if a stealthy LCA MK-3 is practical - lack of internal bay space would be a huge issue.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 29 Jun 2015 12:01

Doubt the IAF would accept a Mk3. If they do. I'd dance. Versus PAF, a Mk3 is very practicable.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 29 Jun 2015 13:22

With an increasing number of countries producing "stealthy" aircraft, the focus is increasingly going to turn towards detecting them and shooting them down. If scAMCA is only going to have its first flight in 2021, the most optimistic time of induction will be 2031 by which time techniques to shoot down 5 gen aircraft will have matured. Would that mean that we must then depend on agility and power again? Are we going to need an AMCA with Su-30 MKI or F-22 like performance. The thought makes me deeply depressed and anxious.

Looked at from any angle the AMCA in its current form and plan appear like another "science and technology project". Not a potential combat aircraft.

We are not really going to have an AMCA replacing MiG 29 and Mirage 2000.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby brar_w » 29 Jun 2015 14:21

Philip wrote:The problem is goalpost shifting. If the upgraded MKIs can carry 3 BMos-M,whose range is allegedly beyond the brochure/MTCR range limits,will an AMCA be able to carry those internally? The accent is shifting to what munitions can be carried rather than the platform itself. If a larger stealth fighter,FGFA whatever, can carry more exotic munitions,possess a greater range and endurance,then why do we then need an AMCA? Won't more Rafales or other non-stealthy med. sized aircraft ,or even LCA MK-3 do? Then comes the big Q what is its engine? That is the key to any fighter programme. The AMCA will have to get an engine from abroad with all the strings and levers attached with it. Finally,unless success is achieved on the LCA front, the AMCA may turn out to be what this td's title asks!


A 300 km weapon can be potentially launched externally, or from non-stealthy fighters without compromising a lot. Stand-off ranges give you that ability. Not saying that a Brahmos-M cannot be launched internally because it surely can if that is what the IAF wants. You can either design your bays around larger weapons (Like the F-35) or just carry the larger stand off weapons externally and jettison the pylons post launch (like the F-22)..The bay design by itself is mission dependent..The F-35 required a swing role mission where you had to carry the 2000 lb bomb, lots of other smaller weapons and future ARMs. If you want a true multi-role aircraft, you have to design it for that and that plays into what sort of bay it has, how much fuel it carries, whether its performance is designed for very high and vast (like the f22) or medium altitudes for targeting (like the F35), loiter times etc etc. I would assume they have done those trades since they are in the tunnel at the moment with the design they want.

The real advantage of the VLO designs is that they give you the ability to get closer thereby having the ability to launch less expensive, and numerous lower cost weapons thereby reversing to an extent the asymmetric advantage that IADS impose on your strike ability. The F22 does that with the SDB for example and its supercruise allows it to lob 8 SDB's from 100+ Km against emitting or otherwise high threat targets..
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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Austin » 29 Jun 2015 14:28

We need to try some risk mitigation platform to make the ride to AMCA smoother wheather its full fledge manned platform or UCAV.

Things like Diamond Wing proposed for AMCA , Engine , Stealth Technology , Materials , FBW/TVC can be mitigated by a single engine flying test platform

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 29 Jun 2015 14:58

shiv wrote:With an increasing number of countries producing "stealthy" aircraft, the focus is increasingly going to turn towards detecting them and shooting them down. If scAMCA is only going to have its first flight in 2021, the most optimistic time of induction will be 2031 by which time techniques to shoot down 5 gen aircraft will have matured. Would that mean that we must then depend on agility and power again? Are we going to need an AMCA with Su-30 MKI or F-22 like performance. The thought makes me deeply depressed and anxious.


In short saar, engines, engines, engines. I hope we get that part fixed.

Looked at from any angle the AMCA in its current form and plan appear like another "science and technology project". Not a potential combat aircraft.

We are not really going to have an AMCA replacing MiG 29 and Mirage 2000.


We seem to have worked out some critical aspects, namely the overall design including the shape & overall internal structure eg s-shaped inlets etc. However, subsystem development has not been funded yet. Namely stuff like advanced materials (critical for stealth). If IAF is ok, as a risk mitigation strategy a mix of LCA Mk2 and imported avionics can be sufficient for AMCA Mk1.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 29 Jun 2015 14:59

Austin wrote:We need to try some risk mitigation platform to make the ride to AMCA smoother wheather its full fledge manned platform or UCAV.

Things like Diamond Wing proposed for AMCA , Engine , Stealth Technology , Materials , FBW/TVC can be mitigated by a single engine flying test platform


More stuff like this, you mean.

http://www.oneindia.com/india/sukhoi-fo ... 85485.html

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Austin » 29 Jun 2015 15:55

Karan M wrote:
Austin wrote:We need to try some risk mitigation platform to make the ride to AMCA smoother wheather its full fledge manned platform or UCAV.

Things like Diamond Wing proposed for AMCA , Engine , Stealth Technology , Materials , FBW/TVC can be mitigated by a single engine flying test platform


More stuff like this, you mean.

http://www.oneindia.com/india/sukhoi-fo ... 85485.html


Not really but FTB is good if you want to test few stuff like Engine ,Radar and may be emulate FBW like Vista stuff like Tejas Codes tested on F-16.

But you wont get the derisking of aerodynamics flying qualities like if you want to test Diamond Wing and get ton of data on its flight performance in the entire flight regimes , High AOA , Integration of FBW Design with TVC and Diamond wings , these days CFD etc can help but you still need real world data to feed those stuff.

Unless you are like the US,Russian or Europe that has tons of proven design under your belt and have done decades of basic science project in aerodynamics like how NASA or TSAGI does you are hampered in many ways , even then these countries have many experimental projects to derisk the design X-31,YF-23, EAP , S-37/Mig-1.44 all these were precursor to 4plus and 5th gen program.

So taking a single tejas design and AMCA aerodynamic design like Diamond Wing and TVC Integrated FBW/FBL/TVC , Internal Weapon Bay , Serpentine Intake , Materials etc would be a good starting point to derisk the design for AMCA , the twin engine FTB itself would be handy to test Radar, Engine etc

Ofcourse then can always not do that can jump to AMCA with FSED but then they will have to be prepared for any surprise factor that might throw up in the program.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 29 Jun 2015 15:59

Making a Tejas with all the stuff you mentioned would be a program by itself. How is it derisk in any way? We dont have the scale to run 4-5 programs simultaneously. Only way left is to make the AMCA itself and test it, improve and do it fast with strong management and user buyin.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 29 Jun 2015 16:04

brar_w wrote:You can either design your bays around larger weapons (Like the F-35) or just carry the larger stand off weapons externally and jettison the pylons post launch (like the F-22).

True.

The problem associated with larger and larger internal bays is that the fuselage gets fatter (increase in radius) and the volume rises as a function of the cube of the radius. To maintain a low drag "cigar" shape the plane has to get much bigger and less stealthy, more power hungry. more fuel hungry and because surface area increases as square of radius the stealth coated surface skin area also grows by a huge amount with even small increases in circumference.

It is for this reason that the US has developed "SDB"s or small diameter bombs. So India will have to develop or buy a whole new slew of munitions just for AMCA.

Once the design of the internal bay is frozen there can be no changes and all munitions will have to be made to fit. If a new class of munition arrives that calls for some flexibility in space requirements the AMCA is out. The idea is totally disastrous. We are simply trying to copy someone and not doing anything original and the copy will come 3 decades late.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Austin » 29 Jun 2015 16:28

Karan M wrote:Making a Tejas with all the stuff you mentioned would be a program by itself. How is it derisk in any way? We dont have the scale to run 4-5 programs simultaneously. Only way left is to make the AMCA itself and test it, improve and do it fast with strong management and user buyin.


Yes it will be an effort and perhaps may end up with single prototype but that how they also built a single prototype FSW , EAP , S-37 etc and it was very valuable ,this was done to proof test the aerodynamics which fed into real programs later. All the big guys have learnt the hard way there was no shortcut to it.

Is there any gurantee that AMCA wont face issue with its aerodynamics as ADA has no experience with Diamond Wing design or internal bay or stealth/serpentine intake etc

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby brar_w » 29 Jun 2015 17:31

shiv wrote:
brar_w wrote:You can either design your bays around larger weapons (Like the F-35) or just carry the larger stand off weapons externally and jettison the pylons post launch (like the F-22).

True.

The problem associated with larger and larger internal bays is that the fuselage gets fatter (increase in radius) and the volume rises as a function of the cube of the radius. To maintain a low drag "cigar" shape the plane has to get much bigger and less stealthy, more power hungry. more fuel hungry and because surface area increases as square of radius the stealth coated surface skin area also grows by a huge amount with even small increases in circumference.

It is for this reason that the US has developed "SDB"s or small diameter bombs. So India will have to develop or buy a whole new slew of munitions just for AMCA.

Once the design of the internal bay is frozen there can be no changes and all munitions will have to be made to fit. If a new class of munition arrives that calls for some flexibility in space requirements the AMCA is out. The idea is totally disastrous. We are simply trying to copy someone and not doing anything original and the copy will come 3 decades late.


Well I think you are referring to the F-35 here, which had a USAF Ops_Cost and Logistical_footprint requirement of a single engine to account for. A twin engined plan has plenty of area for you to play around with for bays. In the F-35 the bays got pushed to the side because of the single engine as compared to the F-22. The only difference (major one at least) between the F-35 and F-22 bays is that the former can accommodate a 2000 pound bomb while the latter can at best use the 1000 pound JDAM. However if they were designing the F-22 again now, they'd easily be able to trade off the side bays since in the 2020-2060 time-frame the LOAL Winder block II and the now deferred block III would be standard. Simply no need for those side bays as you can mix and match your BVR and WVR loud outs and design a more optimum bay for your air to ground carriage.

Having said that, Bays in themselves add drag but only when compared to a completely clean/slick non_bay carrier. Once you start putting on larger and larger bombs internal bays actually end up reducing the overall drag compared to slicker legacy jets hanging bombs. As far as fuel load, you are going to require all legacy internal+external fuel requirement internally on 5th generation jets anyhow, hence the F-35 carries for example 18,500 (A) pounds of fuel internally as its range is somewhat comparable to an F-16 (modestly loaded) with full internal fuel + CFT's and EFT's. SDBI's and SDBII's are great weapons for various missions ranging from SEAD to CAS but you still need the 1000 and 2000 pound for hardened targets. Additionally you can't design a multi role fighter for just a 7 inch DIAMETER missile as you need to carry larger missiles (Air to ground, anti radiation, cruise missiles etc etc) for your air to ground tasks.

You can maintain a fairly thin profile and still carry larger air to ground weapons if you optimize your twin engine configuration, it depends upon how thin you want your design. A clear contrast being the way Northrop shaped the engines and Bays vs the way the skunks did it. Different approach for different solutions, northrop made their aircraft longer, parted the engines and created weapons space in between. Sukhoi did a similar profile to the Northrop design.



Image

^This being a more extreme example of a fighter being expanded to a fighter-bomber with a considerable enhancement in a2g load (up to 8 1000 lb JDAM's or 30 SDB's)..

Also note that a 5th generation aircraft flies clean when fully loaded with internal bombs and missiles...So ideally you want to compare drag to a non-internal-bay system that is carrying pods, sensors, bombs and other paraphenialia and the drag index rises quite fast. Same thing with fuel, an F22, F-35, PAKFA, J-20 etc carry a ton of fuel because they have to since they can't rely on EFT's all the time. This at its max limit (20,000 pounds of fuel for the F-35C for example) has an impact on their performance but only when you load them out with that much fuel. You can't compare a fully loaded F-35A with 18,5000 pounds of fuel with a fully loaded (internal fuel) F-16 rocket that can only do a 200 nm radius with any short of fighting ability..so "drag" and what performance impact bays and stealth causes is a relative thing and is mission dependent. While its easy to take off all bombs, and fuel tanks from a 4th generation jet and have it demonstrate amazing performance its not possible to remove the bays and stealth from a 5th generation jet..But the point is that the fourth generation jets can't remove all those things during combat ;)
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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 29 Jun 2015 17:41

Austin wrote:
Karan M wrote:Making a Tejas with all the stuff you mentioned would be a program by itself. How is it derisk in any way? We dont have the scale to run 4-5 programs simultaneously. Only way left is to make the AMCA itself and test it, improve and do it fast with strong management and user buyin.


Yes it will be an effort and perhaps may end up with single prototype but that how they also built a single prototype FSW , EAP , S-37 etc and it was very valuable ,this was done to proof test the aerodynamics which fed into real programs later. All the big guys have learnt the hard way there was no shortcut to it.

Is there any gurantee that AMCA wont face issue with its aerodynamics as ADA has no experience with Diamond Wing design or internal bay or stealth/serpentine intake etc


No guarantee. But that guarantee wont come if you take a completely different design and put a diamond wing etc on it. Make an AMCA itself straight away, perhaps with simplified controls and test that instead!

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 29 Jun 2015 17:56

brar_w wrote:Well I think you are referring to the F-35 here,

No. What I am talking about is a generic problem. The F-35 may well have faced flak for the same reason but it is unwise and depressing to compare the US with India. The US has the technical capability to make a brute force, fuel frugal engine to compensate and mitigate the problems that I spoke of. Not India. Why is India trying to emulate the US without the technical means to do that?

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 29 Jun 2015 18:00

Unfortunately we are enamoured of using the language of leaders. "5th gen" itself is a definition of a fifth generation advancement in American combat aircraft with the earlier four generations being led by American needs and American capability. Where are the Indian needs? Where is the Indian capability? Why is the AMCA not a scam or a science project, not a serious combat aircraft project.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby NRao » 29 Jun 2015 18:20

Scale model, Jan, 2015, Bangalore:

Image

Things started with a compound trapezoidal configuration first revealed six years ago. Then came a pure trapezoidal with Hornet-like leading edge extensions in 2012. A little tinkering, and a year later the AMCA's designers appear to have arrived at a final shape, with its almost diamond-like trapezoidal wing config.

After years of wind tunnel models, design tinkering and fine-tuning of stealth characteristics, this year is truly (and hopefully) the word go. The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) will, by August this year if everything goes to plan, look to obtain official project sanction from the MoD and funding to the tune of $800 million for the preliminary engineering & development phase.


Let us see, that was in Jan, 2015. Aug is nearly upon us.

___________________________________

Nothing like the real stuff.

___________________________________

On test beds, etc, sure - needed, absolutely. Those should be built for any and every project. It just may be too late for the AMCA, with perhaps a few exceptions.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby brar_w » 29 Jun 2015 18:23

shiv wrote:
brar_w wrote:Well I think you are referring to the F-35 here,

No. What I am talking about is a generic problem. The F-35 may well have faced flak for the same reason but it is unwise and depressing to compare the US with India. The US has the technical capability to make a brute force, fuel frugal engine to compensate and mitigate the problems that I spoke of. Not India. Why is India trying to emulate the US without the technical means to do that?


Then you need to define what the comparison is when it comes to drag and performance. Are we comparing the aerodynamic performance of say a potential AMCA design to that of a clean LCA? A clean Mig-29? A loaded LCA/29 and if so with what load. The more multi-role you go the more penalty you face when it comes to drag and performance degraded performance in non-internal bay aircraft and the same cycle of more bombs = more drag = more fuel required still applies. You have the fifth generation fighters that have some degree of multi-role flexibility in terms of bomb carriage that can do Mach 1.7+ supercruise so its entirely doable from a technical stand point..The more you configure them for a mixed mission the more your reference point also begins to shift. An F-16 carrying 4-6 missiles and no tanks performs very well, but an F-16 with a mixed load of 2 1000 pound bombs, CFT's, 4 missiles, a Litening pod and something to jam does not perform very well. So your reference point shifts again. What the end-user is interested in is what the new aircraft will perform in scenarios it is likely to send that aircraft up. The F-16 at DI of 200+ (or even 150+) is no different from a light bomber.. Can the jet pull G's in a combat load and can it go supersonic with a mission load if it has to escape etc. Legacy aircraft cannot do that, i.e. they cannot go fast, and pull G's without obtaining a mission kill (in many mixed load or pure a2g scenarios) while you have an opportunity to get that performance with next generation aircraft. Additionally a modern jet with stealth, an integrated avionics suite, EA/EW can self escort thereby giving you fleet flexibility like never before. While advanced fourth generation aircraft can also self-escort you still have to send in SEAD/DEAD aircraft since their RCS is that of a jumbo jet once they are kitted for A2G missions..With a stealthy aircraft you can slip through the air-defenses, or lob smaller munitions (because you can get much closer ) if need be to suppress or destroy air defenses. You also have a vastly smaller EW footprint requirement since your RCS is tiny hence you can do all that in a self-escort scenario. This means a smaller, more survivable and ultimately more lethal strike package.

I would google Mission X and see how the F-16's for example (a very competent multi-role fighter) had to suffer mission kills in order to survive or have a chance to survive (as you saw in the video of that I posted a few months ago as well)...That is the main reason why they want the F35 for example to pull its performance with a load so that it can still get that performance without sacrificing the mission or endangering lives to a degree. There is no reason why the AMCA cannot do that compared to say a mig-29, LCA, or even the Rafale. You get survivability through stealth, situational awareness and Electronic warfare, and you get performance because you have better technology, better engines, a slick airframe that can still perform with a mixed load.

Unfortunately we are enamoured of using the language of leaders. "5th gen" itself is a definition of a fifth generation advancement in American combat aircraft with the earlier four generations being led by American needs and American capability. Where are the Indian needs? Where is the Indian capability? Why is the AMCA not a scam or a science project, not a serious combat aircraft project.


Substitute "5th generation" with "next generation". Essentially you define the requirements since you pay the bill for it. South Korea for example want to transition into a bay so they may not have internal bays to begin with. Japan wants a fully indigenous (including engines) fighter with advanced performance, and is debating whether to trade off supercruise for subsonic range and loiter..Each end user defines its own requirements. That propulsion requirement (in house engine) would have most likely also limited their performance goals anyhow since its not easy to develop something like the F119 (since they reference the raptor since that is what they wanted all along).

@Austin - You are past that stage where you can de-risk through other areas. Ideally that would be a nice thing to have but from now, since they want to dive into the project there is nothing better than to just built a few prototypes. As Dr. Bevilaqua said in his AIAA lecture on the X-35, an 80% solution today is better than a 100% solution next year since in the world of prototypes the year of testing gives you the ability to learn far far more. Nothing like building it and learning from it.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby SaiK » 29 Jun 2015 19:29

an 1/6th scale RC model can be built with fully loaded engine that satisfy the right t:w and mtows.
nothing like the real stuff.. yeah!

gtre needs a big rear kick first.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby NRao » 29 Jun 2015 19:59

Someone posted in LCA thread, supposedly from Tarmak007:

AMCA config studies are completed. Engine req are finalised. Stealth tech is a challenge as also super-manevourability


Add to that the plan called for asking for $800 million in August.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Sagar G » 29 Jun 2015 20:21

Let's consider that AMCA is scrapped then which agency does esteemed members of this forum propose which is going to work on UAV/UCAV program ???

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby member_23694 » 29 Jun 2015 21:20

before AMCA roll out, i would definitely like ADA and host of other public/pvt institution work and realize a true blue world class stealth UCAV with Indian engine. A well managed and quick turn around project will go a long way in expediting AMCA and other prg

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby ramana » 29 Jun 2015 21:23

Shiv, One reason to pursue the AMCA is not to lose the expertise built up after LCA.
It will be the HF-24 -> LCA saga all over again if AMCA is not followed up.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby NRao » 29 Jun 2015 21:41

expediting AMCA


"AMCA" has been rearing to go.

Acronyms (LCA, IOC, FOC, etc) have held it back.

As I tangentially mentioned, it has been a program that has been out of sight - so, yes not much about it is out there. However, at the same time, much has been accomplished. They will face huge problems, but I very much doubt that they will face problems they faced with the LCA.

Bottom line: India better decide what kind of a MIC does she want. That will dictate other factors. The news on the street (Livefist too) is that the current RM has said the AMCA cannot be in the same predicament as the LCA - that much, much more needs to be "Indian" (as opposed to imports). I take that as an indicator that the GoI (current?) is willing to invest with a goal to make india self sufficient AND not compromise on the products (such as the AMCA). Not an easy task, but the direction from the highest level has been given, now the rest will fall into place - BUT, it will take time.

Meanwhile, small bays and the like should trigger other research - such as miniaturization, etc.

I see a bright future, assuming a few things.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Karan M » 30 Jun 2015 01:45

shiv wrote:With an increasing number of countries producing "stealthy" aircraft, the focus is increasingly going to turn towards detecting them and shooting them down. If scAMCA is only going to have its first flight in 2021, the most optimistic time of induction will be 2031 by which time techniques to shoot down 5 gen aircraft will have matured. Would that mean that we must then depend on agility and power again? Are we going to need an AMCA with Su-30 MKI or F-22 like performance. The thought makes me deeply depressed and anxious.

Looked at from any angle the AMCA in its current form and plan appear like another "science and technology project". Not a potential combat aircraft.

We are not really going to have an AMCA replacing MiG 29 and Mirage 2000.


Ok, you are not going to like this. So I went looking for people who might have spoken to ADA at Aero India '15, which is the best source of news. So here is what I found. :roll:

http://thumkar.blogspot.in/2015/03/amca ... -aero.html

The design of the AMCA scale model displayed at Aero India 2015 was identical to the design of the AMCA scale model displayed at Aero India 2013. This wasn't the case during earlier shows - Aero India 2011 AMCA design differed from the 2009 design, and the 2013 design differed from the 2011 design.

As far as the ADA is concerned, the current AMCA design is final, having been tested to full satisfaction in a supersonic wind tunnel in the US. (At the time of Aero India 2013, the design had only been tested in a subsonic wind tunnel in India.)

Going by the displayed design, AMCA will


Feature two engines without thrust vectoring, relying exclusively on high power to weight ratio for super-maneuverability.
Not have all aspect stealth - engine nozzles are not shaped, though ADA intends to minimize IR signature of the engine exhaust.
Be a single seat fighter.



ADA is all set to roll with the AMCA project, but the IAF isn't impressed with the aircraft's current feature set. The service has drawn up very detailed and ambitious PQSR which includes all aspect stealth, super-maneuverability through thrust vectoring and twin seats.

ADA is confident that it can redesign the AMCA for all aspect stealth, twin-seats and thrust vectoring, but points out that these capabilities would push up costs and stretch timelines. ADA is in the process of responding to the IAF PSQRs with feature wise cost and time frame implications.

(No twin seat stealth fighter has been developed so far because adding a second seat reduces stealth.)

Thrust vectoring is likely to be conditional on Russian willingness to transfer technology.

In view of the differences between ADA and the IAF, it maybe a while before AMCA staff requirements are finalized. Hopefully, the IAF will challenge ADA with realistic performance and timeline requirements, not doom the project by asking for the moon as it sometimes tends to do.

Meanwhile, IDP sentinel has learn't that LRDE has been tasked with developing a conformal X-band AESA for the AMCA, which means that the pilot will be able to track and engage threats not just in the front quarter, but also on either side.

Clearly, it's not just the IAF that needs a reality check.[/quote



Carter Visit Crucial for AMCA Development
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's visit to India on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 will be crucial to progress of India's Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).

According to Business Standard, Indian officials plan to press Carter on sharing US hot engine technology with India under DTTI, as alluded to in the joint statement released during US President Barack Obama's visit to India from January 25 to 27, 2015.

The IAF wants the AMCA to be a 25-ton class aircraft fitted with a 110-kN engine. Currently there is no 110-kN class engine is available in the world market. However, GE Aviation is developing a 120-kN variant of the F414 called the F414 EPE (Enhanced Performance Engine).

The F414 EPE is a hot engine - its turbine blades are made of new materials and use more efficient cooling, enhancing turbine temperature tolerance by 150 °F (66 °C). The engine produces 18 percent more thrust than the F414, mostly because of increased turbine temperature.

What works well for India is that the LCA Mk-2 and the LCA Navy Mk-2 are to be powered by the F414 which has a thrust of 22,000 lb (98 kn), India placed an order for 100 F414 engines in 2011.A few would be delivered off the shelf, and the rest produced in India.

ADA wants to build prototypes of AMCA using F414 engine, and use the F414 EPE for series production aircraft. The hope is, India would fund development of a F414 EPE variant for the AMCA under DTTI and in the process gain access to hot engine technology. US readiness to part with the technology or otherwise would prove crucial to the AMCA project.

http://thumkar.blogspot.in/2015/06/news ... armys.html

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby NRao » 30 Jun 2015 04:06

Old stuff rehashed perhaps, but ....................

On "scam", "science project" and "dead Albatross?", why is the PAK-FA any different? Just because the Russians have built 5 working models for testing and have made good progress, it can never mean that it is doing well and it is even a greater stretch to think it will DO WELL. While the AMCA could be labeled a "scam" for a set of reasons, the PAK-FA could be a "scam" but for a totally different set of reasons. I seriously wonder if India were to drop out of their "5th Gen" effort, if the PAK-FA would be viable (not talking about the Putin effect here). (I sincerely hope that Modi does not invest in the FGFA because of politics.)


Secondly, IAF and its "all aspect stealth". Would the PAK-FA and FGFA have it? I very much doubt it. But, the IAF would enforce that on the AMCA and will let it slide with the Russian product. Now, IF that were to actually pass - I am told such things have occurred on other items in the past - now, THAT would be a true scam.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 30 Jun 2015 05:46

NRao wrote:Old stuff rehashed perhaps, but ....................

On "scam", "science project" and "dead Albatross?", why is the PAK-FA any different? Just because the Russians have built 5 working models for testing and have made good progress, it can never mean that it is doing well and it is even a greater stretch to think it will DO WELL. While the AMCA could be labeled a "scam" for a set of reasons, the PAK-FA could be a "scam" but for a totally different set of reasons. I seriously wonder if India were to drop out of their "5th Gen" effort, if the PAK-FA would be viable (not talking about the Putin effect here). (I sincerely hope that Modi does not invest in the FGFA because of politics.)


Secondly, IAF and its "all aspect stealth". Would the PAK-FA and FGFA have it? I very much doubt it. But, the IAF would enforce that on the AMCA and will let it slide with the Russian product. Now, IF that were to actually pass - I am told such things have occurred on other items in the past - now, THAT would be a true scam.


These are precisely the things that bother me.

In 1989 or so - the MiG 29 flew for the first time in a western air show - it was the Paris air show IIRC. I have videos of the ooh and aahs that were evoked. No one knew then if it was FBW - they assumed it was. later it turned out that the super-manoeuvrability of the MiG 29 (Cobra/Tail Slide) and the Su-27 (Kulbit) were the result of Russian expertise in squeezing the maximum out of conventional aerodynamics without FBW . This was before thrust vectoring and before Russian FBW. India does not even have the experience required to sort out the aerodynamics issues of Saras, IJT and AMCA

For Saras the Germans were invited for "recommendations"
For IJT I think BAe was involved regarding stall/spin
For AMCA I am shocked and disgusted to see on this thread, the same language used by representatives of second rate Indian drug companies pushing their brand of medicine - "Oh our basic drug is imported from France and is approved by USFDA"

So I read on this thread that the damn AMCA has had "supersonic wind tunnel tests in Yamerika" so that is too damn good and we better accept it as final and unbeatable. Honestly this sort of shoddy half capability being passed off as all aspect capability makes me sad and angry. Already I see in your post the beginnings of a future ADA/IADF lungi dance that will be used to "explain" delays to a new generation of BRFites 10 years from now

ADA says "Configuration if final."
IAF says: " Give us best of brochure - all aspect stealth and TV"
ADA says "That is going to stretch timelines"

Earlier I read:
AMCA config studies are completed. Engine req are finalised. Stealth tech is a challenge as also super-manevourability


So what the IAF wants after studying all the world's brochures is unachievable for ADA within any declared timelines.

Why can't we simply make an F/A 18 class aircraft if we want to do something

Secondly if you want to put one man or two men in AMCA it is highly risky. Timelines will be stretched endlessly. Make a smaller unmanned plane and test it. Crash it. Build a supersonic wind tunnel. Build a vertical wind tunnel, Build something around the Kaveri

Why oh why do our self proclaimed experts take the country on what appears to be a wild goose chase that will not be able to meet deadlines? I am not saying they will never do it. They will simply not be able to do it in the stated time frame
Last edited by shiv on 30 Jun 2015 06:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 30 Jun 2015 06:10

dhiraj wrote:before AMCA roll out, i would definitely like ADA and host of other public/pvt institution work and realize a true blue world class stealth UCAV with Indian engine. A well managed and quick turn around project will go a long way in expediting AMCA and other prg

Absolutely. Given the advances we have in robotics and the skilled software manpower we have this is a goal that is within reach. Instead of that we are taking on an AMCA that may be technologically useful but shows no sign of being achievable within the optimistic timeframe that we have been given. It is these time frames when compared against national technical capability that makes AMCA sound like scAMCA to me. In 10 years two ADA directors and 5 CAS will have retired and the new guys can always blame someone in the past.

Engine is a problem
Supermaoeuvrability is a problem
All aspect stealth is a problem

AMCA itself is a problem

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby ShauryaT » 30 Jun 2015 07:11

^Shiv ji, IAF rejected the then existing proposal of the ADA and issued the 2010 ASR. From the looks of it, we are back to square 1, where ADA is still saying to IAF, we can make non-all aspect stealth, with no TVC for now. The IAF is still saying no. Someone needs rein in the desires of the IAF and the ADA needs some political backing to get things going.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 30 Jun 2015 07:50

ShauryaT wrote:^Shiv ji, IAF rejected the then existing proposal of the ADA and issued the 2010 ASR. From the looks of it, we are back to square 1, where ADA is still saying to IAF, we can make non-all aspect stealth, with no TVC for now. The IAF is still saying no. Someone needs rein in the desires of the IAF and the ADA needs some political backing to get things going.

Shaurya I had posted this article in another thread. Written by a retd army officer about how "requirements" are framed
http://idrw.org/indian-army-chasing-pip ... more-67262
The Army’s request is for an FRCV that will not only serve as a ‘medium’-sized main battle tank to replace the Army’s ageing fleet of licence-built Russian T-72s but also as a ‘light-tracked and wheeled tank’, built on the same platform. In layman terms, this is like asking for a Humvee and a Maruti 800 on the same platform. Hopefully, the document will be either withdrawn or amended before its July 31 deadline.

Surely, the Directorate General of Mechanised Forces at Army Headquarters, responsible for issuing the request, realises the irony and irrationality of drawing up such absurd general staff qualitative requirements (GSQRs), which are technologically impossible for any manufacturer to fulfil.

What is all the more surprising is that such QRs are formulated after extensive discussion, not only by the division concerned — in this case, the Mechanised Forces — but finally approved by the Army’s Deputy Chief (Planning & Systems), who is responsible for acquisitions. His office, as are those involved in formulating the requests and the subsequent proposals, or tenders, is purportedly staffed by competent scientific and technical advisers.

Senior Army officers concede that such over-ambitious and flawed requests for information, leading to equally over-stretched, faulty and diluted tenders, are largely responsible for the alarming equipment shortage that the forces face today. The shortfall includes small arms, howitzers, assorted helicopters, armour with night-fighting capacity, air defence capability and varied ordnance, among other things. Although Army Headquarters blames the hidebound and ill-informed Ministry of Defence (MoD) bureaucrats for this, it also has largely itself to blame for the glaring deficiencies.

This is even better:
The typical process is this: all available literature on the equipment is gathered and its multiple characteristics collated. The idea is to include as many features as possible to demonstrate how exhaustively the task has been performed. :eek: Thereafter, as the draft travels up the chain of command, it gathers additional parameters, as each officer feels compelled to suggest more improvements. “The final QR takes the shape of a well-compiled wish list of utopian dimensions, which simply do not exist,” stated Gen. Suman.

For instance, in 2004, the Army issued a tender for 168 light utility helicopters to replace the obsolete fleet of Cheetahs and Chetaks inducted into service in the mid-60s. The proposal required the chopper to hover uninterruptedly for 30 minutes, a capability no helicopter in the world possessed at the time. The maximum hover time then available, with a U.S. helicopter, was seven minutes. The Army was forced to withdraw the tender soon after.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Philip » 30 Jun 2015 12:32

If the IAF and ADA are not on the same poage,and the programme gets a "hire and fire" DG AMCA,then the LCA scenario will be repeated ad nauseum.This time the technologies are even more difficult to develop internally.Unless the IAF are firmly embedded right from the beginning,a huge amt. of time is going to be spent on warring between the two sides,with the same predictable results. The IN's method of forward planning,development,execution and collaboration with firang entities is the way to go.

One.Let's take a look at the first most important criteria/factor,the engine.We still after 3+ decades,haven't even got a single functioning engine out of the GTRE.I say dissolve it.Scrap the GTRE and institute a new establishment with a much larger/wider ambition to develop every type of engine required for both fixed wing and rotor-types. A comprehensive engine development establishment with all the testing capabilities has to be created.It's no use sending desi engines every time to Russia or the West for evaluation. We therefore need to identify two engines,at least one each from east and west which may be made available to us. The first prototypes and production series have to use engines that have been around and are reliable,proven ones before more exotic ones are proven.

Two.Radars,main AESA radar and other conformal ones for full spectrum detection/countermeasures. Here we seem to be better off than in the engine dept. with our first AESA radar in the wings for the LCA.Avionics has seen some good results at home,but we still depend upon Western/Israeli systems for the most part.

Three. Aerodynamic shape.This also depends upon the weaponry to be carried,size of internal bays,max payload,desired range,no of pilots-IAF obsession with two despite increasing sensor fusion developments.as far as materials are concerned,we've made some development in composites but have yet to master 3-D production techniques,the way of the future.

The FGFA prog. is supposed to be on track,though at slower speed.If so,then leveraging it as much as posss. for the AMCA has to be done to shorten dev. time,costs,etc.

Four.Weaponry.Desi and firang. A range of ASMs,AAMs,etc. required.Commonaality with other types in service to bring down costs.BMos-M a must for the AMCA too.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby arunsrinivasan » 30 Jun 2015 18:14

Very depressing thread :((

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby member_23694 » 30 Jun 2015 19:13

arunsrinivasan wrote:Very depressing thread :((


While LCA development started long time back and no discussion forum etc, in AMCA case things starting now, one can think of better and optimized way to move forward for AMCA based on whatever is available in open source. At least the satisfaction that we said so :wink:

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 30 Jun 2015 20:29

The people who were at the helm when the LCA saga started are retired, too old or dead. And while everyone is happy that an LCA has finally come and it looks good - none of us want to experience the pain of watching another slow-grinding torture of missed deadlines and unreachable goals.

On the face of it we seem to have EXACTLY the same issues that were there when the LCA story started
1. Air Force not fully on board
2. No clear definition what what role the AMCA is going to fulfil when it comes - i.e what aircraft will be retiring and what will AMCA do. And for this timelines have to be met
3. Technological hurdles with no in house skills to meet those challenges.

Personally I would be perfectly happy to see the AMCA idea discarded. No one has defined what its role will be. No one is saying what it will be doing when inducted and when it will be inducted.

Like Pakistan , AMCA is an idea. A gleam in the eye. The worst and most agonizing thing for me is the fact that there is already a back up plan ready and waiting to kill the AMCA - the PAKFA. And someone please explain to me what is FGFA? Not the acronym. But what it means for the nation.

If there are errors in what I have stated I would like to see some reports/statements from those involved negating/disputing my statements. I would be happy to be made to shut up. With the LCA coming on line - it is time to be completely hard headed about what we can do and what we need to do. No romance. No emotion

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby Rahul M » 30 Jun 2015 21:00

the simple fact that we still have to rely on foreign wind tunnels for relatively mundane things like testing our aerodynamic models shows how woefully underfunded our R&D set-up is and how far we still have to go. it is a travesty and a farce of the highest order that we still expect our defence R&D to come up with world standard items.
the miracle is, they sometimes do just that.

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Re: Is the AMCA a pipe dream that will become a dead Albatro

Postby shiv » 30 Jun 2015 21:02

True. It is hardly a matter of pride to hear that "AMCA configuration has been finalized after wind tunnel testing in USA". What utter rubbish.

I am sorely tempted to build a model vertical wind tunnel right here at home and do a video of a model plane in that wind tunnel.

Supersonic tunnel I can't do though.


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