India’s 5+ Gen fighter jet AMCA will also have a front opening canopy windshield instead of the side opening canopy windshield found on the Tejas Mk1A programme, according to a sneak view of digital renders released by the ADA to “India Tv” for the first time.
Although several fighter jets with side opening canopies (LCA, Rafale, for example) do exist, front opening canopies have historically been the least popular, until they were once more seen on the F-35 and are currently being used on Chinese deck-based J-35 fifth generation fighter jets. The F-35’s front opening canopy arrangement design can be largely ascribed to the shared design that has to be present on all three of the upcoming variants.
It is possible that in the future China will introduce a new deck-based variant that features a rear opening canopy on the J-35 that is based on the J-31. The F-35B, which is the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL)-capable variant, needs to accommodate a lift fan just behind the canopy and other elements to operate the aircraft as a short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL).
Given that the main criticisms of F-35 pilots have always been that the front opening canopy removes rearward view and that being unable to visually look over your shoulder doesn’t assist grasp situational awareness, the ADA’s decision to opt with this canopy design will raise curiosity. Since only ADA can currently provide clarification to determine the precise causes, the AMCA canopy-cockpit layout may be for two reasons.
The main factors could be to reduce frequent use of the side access panels and to provide simple access to the instrumentation and other electronic devices that are stored in the front fuselage. As can be seen in the images above, the AMCA’s access panels are not conveniently positioned throughout the aircraft as on non-stealth fighter jets. This may have more to do with the need to protect the skin’s radar-absorbing material (RAM) stealth coating in order to prevent stealth from being compromised by frequent panel opening.
The second explanation might be that the front opening canopy configuration was discovered to be considerably more suitable as a result of the fact that the aircraft’s additional fuel is stored in the middle of the fuselage. This layout may improve the aircraft’s low-observable characteristics, which is one of its aerodynamic benefits.