India is developing a new fifth general fighter aircraft and it will have the latest integrated condition monitoring systems covering important systems such as avionics, structural health, air conditioning, and pressure regulation.
This was revealed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Dr VK Saraswat at a two-day national conference on 'Condition Monitoring of Engineering Systems and Structures' organised jointly by the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) of the DRDO and Condition Monitoring Society of India at Pune.
Inaugurating the conference, Saraswat said technologies drive doctrines and with advancing technologies, maintenance strategies have changed over the years from ‘break-down’ to ‘preventive’ to ‘predictive’ to ‘proactive’ and systems have evolved to ‘self-diagnosis’ and ‘self-healing’, by integrating nano, micro and bio-technologies.
He said that the development of sensors, signal processing techniques, decision support systems and software are the main challenges in condition-monitoring and structural-health-monitoring.
Saraswat also released the conference souvenir and proceedings.
India is developing its own fifth generation combat jet in the form of the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) that was formerly conceived as the Medium Combat Aircraft (MCA). The AMCA will be a single-seater, twin-engine stealth multirole fighter.
The AMCA is likely to complement the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and the Indo-Russian joint venture fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), also known as the PAK FA, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and the Dassault Rafale, which will be the chosen plane under the MMRCA or the medium multi-role combat aircraft tender for 126 planes for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
AMCA will be powered by the GTX Kaveri engine that will provide it thrust vectoring and possible supercruise capabilities. With the DRDO tying up with French Snecma for the engine's development, Kaveri is expected to provide 90 KiloNewton to 95 kiloNewton of power.
The IAF had issued the Air Staff requirements (ASR) for the AMCA in April 2010, placing the plane in the 25-ton category.
Apart from an air force version of the AMCA, it is also envisaged to develop a carrier-borne version for use on Indian Navy's indigenous aircraft carriers of the future.
The design and development of AMCA is now in progress and it is likely to go for first flight in about three years or so, sometime in 2015, and later be available for induction into the air force in another three years from then, by the end of 2018.
The AMCA will be designed with a very small radar cross-section and is expected to feature serpentine shaped air-intakes, internal weapons and the use of composites and other materials. The AMCA project is estimated to cost about $2 billion for the DRDO.