India's Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has recently approached the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for approval of twin-engine advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA) after finalizing the design of the fifth-generation stealth fighter.
The decision comes amidst rising security concerns with China's expanding air force and armed drones, and changing geopolitics over Ukraine and Taiwan.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasizing the importance of sticking to project timelines and avoiding delays and cost overruns, the DRDO has decided to power both the Tejas Mark II and AMCA with the same GE-414 engine.
The LCA Tejas Mark II is expected to roll out next year, and the first prototype of GE-414-powered AMCA is expected to roll out by 2026.
India currently faces a shortage of squadrons in the next decade, and it is crucial for national institutions to work in synergy towards national interest and not in self-preservation.
The Modi government is pursuing engine design, development, and joint production with France and the possibility of manufacturing Rafale fighters in India for export to third countries. The US has also offered to shift its F-18 production line to India with an offer to acquire F-15 EX fighters.
In this rapidly changing geopolitical scenario, India needs to be proactive and ensure that its fighter development program stays on track. It is crucial to hold the DRDO accountable for timely delivery, which will be instrumental in strengthening India's air capabilities and securing the country's borders.