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Vineet Ravindran asked: Does India need a 5th generation stealth fighter besides AMCA, considering that Su-30 is the only heavy fighter IAF has in its inventory in numbers?

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  • Kishore Kumar Khera replies: The nature and type of combat force depends on the national security imperatives. In our context, Indian aerospace power needs to ensure the requisite capability to protect our national interests. As the operational environment in our region changes with the induction of new technology, Indian aerospace power needs to keep pace to retain relevance. Therefore, induction of the next generation combat capability is essential in the coming decade.

    As regards the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), it is a work in progress and may take a decade or more to be fully operational. This timeline for completion of development of a complex combat platform with limited indigenous capability is optimistic considering the time taken for operationalisation of the Light Combat Aircraft or LCA Tejas. Till induction of a stealth fighter takes place, India will have to rely on available fourth generation combat platforms. In the interim, should radar technology take a quantum leap, stealth technology may not remain relevant and necessity to invest in stealth aircraft reviewed.

    For more details, please refer to the following MP-IDSA publication:

    Kishore Kumar Khera, Combat Aviation: Flight Path 1968-2018, KW Publishers, New Delhi, 2020.

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.

    Posted on August 19, 2020

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