India is reportedly planning to start development of its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA), this year.
Unnamed defence sources were quoted by The Times of India as saying that the Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Aeronautical Development Agency have completed the preliminary design stage of the aircraft.
One of the sources was quoted as saying: "Once the project definition and feasibility is completed in the next few months, the defence ministry will go to the cabinet committee on security for approval.
"It will require INR40bn to INR50bn for the initial design and development phase."
The first twin-engine AMCA prototype is expected to perform its maiden test flight by 2023 to 2024, which will be around the time the IAF will be taking deliveries of Tejas Mark-II fighters.
The source added: "After Tejas-II, we have to move ahead to a fifth-generation-plus AMCA.
"Basic design work of AMCA, as well as presentations by five to six global aero-engine manufacturers, is over. Simulation modelling is also in the works."
In addition to the AMCA development, India is also aiming to resolve its differences with Russia regarding the proposed joint development of the Indian perspective multi-role fighter, based on the latter’s under-development FGFA known as T-50, or PAK-FA.
According to the news agency, it is believed India has informed Russia of its inability to wait until 2024 to 2025 to commence induction of 127 of the single-seat fighters, which are expected to cost a total of around $25bn.