The Naval variant of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk1 Tejas under development successfully completed the first arrested landing on board aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Saturday.
“After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) developed LCA Navy did an arrested landing on INS Vikramaditya successfully today January 11, 2020 at 10:02 hours,” the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said on Twitter. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar did the maiden landing, it added.
The Naval LCA recently successfully completed take-off and landing trials on the SBTF in Goa, which the Navy has said is a technology demonstrator.
“With this feat, the indigenously developed niche technologies specific to deck-based fighter operations have been proven, which will now pave the way to develop and manufacture the twin engine deck-based fighter for the Indian Navy,” the Navy said on Twitter.
Navy Chief Adm. Karambir Singh stated in December that the DRDO had offered to develop a new twin engine deck-based fighter for the Navy based on the experience of the Naval LCA and it should be ready by 2026.
The Naval LCA-Mk1 made its maiden flight in April 2012 and two prototypes have been flying as part of the development. The SBTF, which replicates the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, was specifically built to train Naval pilots in the complex manoeuvres of landing on the short flight deck of an aircraft carrier before they move on to the actual carrier.
Naval LCA is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off, to be airborne within 200 m and land within 100 m as against 1000 m required for normal runways.
The Navy currently operates Russian Mig-29K fighters from INS Vikramaditya, which will also fly from the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant once it enters service. The Navy is currently evaluating global tenders for 57 carrier-based twin engine fighter aircraft.