The Aeronautical Development Agency, which had conceived and designed the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, has set the ball rolling for building the next generation defence aircraft, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), by extending an invitation to private players in Coimbatore to build a technology demonstrator.The proposal is not only the first time an indigenous military aircraft programme is seeing the involvement of private players, but it is also the first time a defence plane development project is proposed to be executed outside Bangalore.The project — to be implemented in Sulur in Coimbatore district which may house the permanent base of the Tejas squadron — marks Tamil Nadu’s first major defence aircraft project. Fifth Generation Aircraft May Replace Tejas Talking about the fifth generation aircraft that may eventually replace Tejas, ADA programme director Mr Girish Deodhar said: “We’ve only invited an Expression of Interest and received application from a few industries. It’d be too early to reveal names or numbers as the project is in a preliminary phase and final clearance is awaited.” The agency, created for the design and development of Tejas, has become relevant with the AMCA project and defence sources said the involvement of private players is in line with the Centre’s ‘Make In India’ programme and it could help with the project’s timelines. “There’s a proposal to implement the project in Sulur and the decision is based on the fact that Bengaluru has no space for technology development. The HAL airport already has too much testing. We looked at Chitradurga but it was not feasible because there was a problem with the approach part of the field. Since Sulur has an airfield, it looks good,” Mr Deodhar said.According to ADA, private players will be required to manufacture, assemble and equip two fighter aircraft and for the first time the industry will be involved from the stage of developing a process plan, design and fabricate parts, manufacture both metallic and composite parts, prepare sub-assembly jigs, create sub-assemblies and transport them to the identified Flight Test Facility. Source:

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