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India’s Homegrown Multi-Role Fighter Jets Will Have Rafale-Like Features — Reports

Like the French-made Rafale jets, India’s upcoming homegrown carrier-based multi-role fighter jet, known as the Twin Engine Deck-Based Fighter (TEDBF), will have a higher thrust and payload capacity, according to reports. 

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The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which comes under the Department of Defence Research and Development of India’s Ministry of Defense, is moving ahead with its plans of developing the indigenous Advanced Multirole Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and the TEDBF.

While the TEDBF would replace the Indian Navy’s MiG-29K fighter jets, the AMCA is meant for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Developed jointly by ADA, the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), the twin-engine, carrier-based, multirole TEDBF is a canard twin-engine variant of Tejas fighter jet.

Reportedly, TEDBF will have a higher thrust and payload capacity, which would put them on a par with the French-made Dassault Rafales.

The fighter jet will operate from the Indian Navy’s short take-off but assisted recovery carriers INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, which will start sea trials this year.

ADA provided the latest figures regarding the capabilities of the TEDBF at the just-concluded ‘Aero India 2021’ show, held in Bengaluru. The fighter jet will attain a speed of Mach 1.6, as compared to Mach 1.8 for the AMCA.

According to ADA, the TEDBF will be a comparatively smaller aircraft than the AMCA, with the Navy fighter having a length of 16.2 meters (53ft in) compared to AMCA’s length of 18 meters.

India’s Tejas fighter

While the TEDBF, which is optimized for carrier operations, would feature a conventional delta-wing configuration with canards and a horizontal tail, the AMCA has a twin-tail layout with its emphasis on stealth.

According to the reports, the TEDBF has been outfitted with folding wings for deck handling and storage and will have a maximum take-off weight of 26 tons. Other than that, the aircraft will be powered by two GE Aviation F414 INS6 engines.

Importantly, the aircraft will not possess an internal weapons bay, and instead, have wingtip rails, six under-wing hardpoints, two fuselage hardpoints, and one centreline pylon.

AMCA is expected to roll out in 2023-2024. The single-seat, medium-weight fighter design of the AMCA, with its radar cross-section (RCS) reduced through airframe design, has been optimized for stealth.

Unlike the TEDBF, the fighter will have diverterless air intakes with serpentine ducts, stealth shaping, stealth materials, body conformal antennae, and an internal weapons bay, in order to increase its stealth.

“Stealth shaping has been done, with an enormous amount of work on the serpentine intake for the last 7-8 years on all these aspects and they have been mastered,

“We have a big stealth program in the country and the stealth materials for AMCA have already been frozen,” said an ADA official.

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