India's AMCA: A Budget-Conscious Path to 5th-Gen Capability

India's AMCA: A Budget-Conscious Path to 5th-Gen Capability

India's aviation ambitions have taken a significant leap forward with the recent greenlighting of its Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. The goal: develop a cutting-edge, domestically produced 5th-generation fighter jet.

What sets the AMCA program apart is its remarkably low budget – approximately Rs 15,000 crores ($1.8 billion) – a fraction of what other nations typically spend on similar endeavors.

Cost Comparisons: AMCA vs. Global Programs​

To put this into perspective, South Korea's KF-21 program, launched in 2015, has an estimated price tag of $6.59 billion. While impressive, the KF-21's initial versions lack true 5th-generation capabilities like internal weapons bays and stealth coatings. A fully stealthy variant (Block-III) is planned for 2030 but is expected to push unit costs above $100 million and overall program costs past $7 billion.

Similarly, Turkey's TF-X (KAAN) program began in 2016 with an initial government investment of $1.18 billion and projections for an additional $2-3 billion to complete its development cycle. Unit costs for the KAAN fighter are estimated at $100-$125 million in its final configuration.

India's Cost-Effective Strategy​

India's AMCA program takes a notably more frugal approach. Initial AMCA variants (AMCA MKI) could cost around Rs 900 crore ($108 million) per unit, potentially dropping to Rs 450-500 crore ($60 million) for subsequent production models.

This affordability stems partly from the decision to use the F-414 engine, which India has the potential to produce domestically from 2027 onwards. The more advanced AMCA MKII, featuring a new indigenous 110kN engine, might see higher initial costs, but these are expected to stabilize with larger-scale production.

Despite cost-saving measures, it's unlikely the AMCA will ever match the flyaway cost of the F-35A (estimated at under $78 million by 2035).

However, India's focus isn't solely on the price tag. The AMCA program emphasizes achieving high levels of indigenization – over 70% for the MKI and exceeding 90% for the MKII. This aims to bolster India's domestic aerospace industry and reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.


India's AMCA program is a distinctive venture in the world of 5th-generation fighter development. Its comparatively low budget, coupled with a strong commitment to indigenous production, could reshape the future of India's Air Force and broader defense industry.

While challenges remain, the AMCA program's focus on affordability and self-reliance charts a unique trajectory for India's military technological advancements.
Cost is important but like all good things in life capability costs money...Yes, Bharat can do it cheaper than most, but can we do it better and faster is the question...Historically, we haven't but let us work towards changing the paradigm...First of all the AMCA-Mk1 and even Mk-2, have large capability gaps (my opinion) in the planning stage - no rear stealth, no super maneuverability, or super cruise in Mk-1s, etc...Question - could we have aimed higher at least with Mk-2 with our own high thrust engines (130KN)...Also what is our thinking beyond AMCA - we need to start thinking and have plans in place so latest by 2030 we are working actively on 6th GEN, if not then we should evaluate joining the GACP program now, provided Japan+UK+Italy are willing and able to provided us equity/partnership and work share...I think accelerating AMCA with fixing capabilities in Mk-2 and joining GCAP may be good options.
Koreans have realistic requirements, budget and firm dates. India has unobtaium ever changing requirements, no budget or cheapass budget and timelines on the whim of DrDO chairman or HAL chairman who lie at every opportunity
In conclusion Indian public sector companies and their employees have an assured future and pensions. They know if they fail it's ok. India can look to France or Russia for foreign maal.
Nice dream... AMCA from initial price of $100m to $60m seems like utterly impossible 🤔🧐
Then why would we continue Tejas mk1a if sooner or later AMCA would be cheaper at $60m🤭😺
This continuity of bad PR is hilarious.... Comparing SK $7b budget and Turkiye's $3b 5gen budget to our meager less $2b😹😹😹😹 so that's the reason why India's 5gen is lagging behind to others because of it's small funding 🙃
I want more prototypes to be made under AMCA mk1 to Fastrack the testing period. KF21 program even though -5 gen have 6 prototypes.
AMCA is still a 5gen only in papers and that's our current reality 😹😹😹
Funding it for a meager less than $2b show's that's why up until now we can't see it's prototype 🤭😺
This article is full of oversimplifying and belittling success of others when one doesn't even have similar prototypes yet. Even TAI KAAN prototype is not 5th Gen Jet despite having stealth design features. It takes years of further polishing to make a jet truly stealth. Same goes with that South Korean one. As far as I know, India is building AMCA from scratch without foreign assistant. It is likely, India with limited stealth tech knowledge know how first prototype will not be 5 gen rather a 4.5.
Very true but many here are blinded by the propaganda of AMCA as way beyond 5gen only in paper😹😹😹
And our dang goodie ol so military expert's belittling others success.... While us still day dreaming 🤭
They HAVE BEEN developing this technology(AMCA) since 2008. They have made every engineering drawing for every part. It will be fifth generational and better then Su-57 and compete with f-22. There is no hype in AMCA, only needs make prototype and test it. Even Tejas mk1a(one most highly composite fighter jet in market) has reduced rcs, so expecting AMCA to be better and as stealth will not be some giant leap.
Developing on paper and CGI as 5gen, but til now no prototype
I doubt that there is no hype in AMCA. I'm sure the AMCA prototype will be 4.5 instead of 5th generation, just like the TAI Kaan and KF-21. This prototype will have to be tested and polished further to ensure that it is truly is 5th generation. To be truly a stealth, fighter jets need to be flight tested in real life. Only then through further improvements and feedbacks it can achieve desirable result. Comparisons with Tejas make no sense at all because Tejas is smaller in size, which reduces its RCS.
A person does not know an iota talk out of head. Tejas is highly composite fighter aircraft unlike your nonsense prototypes. Now, answer why they have been working on AMCA since 2008.
India should choose GE 145 kn jet engine for AMCA 5th generation fighter jets.
But, I do believe AMCA is a "Daydream" project of lndia.
What is the percent of indigenous content by value in our indigenous HAL Tejas Mk-1? Which our good engineers at HAL have been developing since its first flight in 2000, almost 24 years ago?
Beta itna kyon fudak raheho. KF-21 and KAAN, both have significant amount of foreign parts. Even the Amercan F-35 is not wholy American. It has parts mad ein different countries. Beside Russia, and France no other country makes a fully 100% indeginous fighter jet. Please don't mention China because 75% of their technology is stolen or copied. India is just noe getting intot the game and achieving 65% content is a great achievement. Once the radar is indiginised, that will bring the content up to 75%. Once the new engine is developed, by then the other sensors etc will also be indeginised and India will have a 100% Indian jet. There may be a lot of doubters on this board, but I am confident that in 10 years, India is headed that way.

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