MUMBAI - India will spend $2 billion in the next 18 months to indigenously develop its new generation stealth fighter, said an Indian defense official.
"The government will approve $2 billion for the development of the new generation stealth fighter called the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) in the next eighteen months, including developing two technology demonstrators and seven prototypes," local newspaper Business Standard quoted Subramanyam, Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in the Ministry of Defense as saying on Sunday.
"We have received the government-sanctioned fund of more than $20 million," he added.
The AMCA would be designed by the standard of the world's present fifth generation fighters, so as to shorten the gap of the advanced fighters between India and major aeronautical countries, he said.
According to Subramanyam, the AMCA would be a twin-engine aircraft as the existing MiG-29 fighter with its total weight at about 20 tons. It will have a small radar cross-section, and all weapons will be placed in the internal bays to ensure the stealth effects.
As designed, the fighter would be able to carry out multi- purpose tasks, including executing air-to-air combats with missiles and neutralizing the vital ground targets with the precision-guided weapons, he noted.
The ADA would finish the definition of the AMCA's technical and operational requirements and lay out the broad concepts for its development within about one and half a year, he said, adding that a maiden flight test is expected to be made by 2017.
India is also reportedly to spend $6 billion to develop a type of the fifth generation fighters in partnership with Russia.
The United States is one of the world's major aeronautical countries with its most sophisticated stealth fighter F-22 entering service in the Air Force in December 2005. Some other Asian countries are also developing the stealth fighters following the US, such as Japan and South Korea.