The naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’, the aircraft made a successful short-landing with arrestor wires on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) based in Goa. This is a positive step and now the indigenous LCA can finally operate from an aircraft carrier. DRDO sources have confirmed that the “The Naval LCA, two seat variant made a successful trap on the SBTF in Goa today.” The naval version of the LCA Tejas had its maiden flight in April 2012, and since then two prototypes have been flying as part of the development. So far, the first prototype (NP1) of the Naval LCA had made a successful first flight from the SBTF in 2014.
The next step is that after a series of trials on the SBTF, the indigenous LCA Tejas is expected to attempt landing on the deck of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. The DRDO has tested two LCA-N prototypes are being tested single seat and two seat variant. This arrested landing feat has been achieved by fighter planes developed in the US, Russia, the UK, and France.
What is SBTF?
This replicates the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
This has been specifically built to train naval pilots in the complex manoeuvres of landing on the short flight deck of an aircraft carrier which is important step before they moved on to the actual carrier.
#WATCH: Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) performs at the #AeroIndia2019 in Bengaluru; also pays homage to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who gave it the name ‘Tejas’ pic.twitter.com/qZJSt38NrH
— ANI (@ANI) February 20, 2019
Naval Version of LCA Tejas
The naval version of the LCA Tejas has been designed in India and has stronger landing gears which can absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off. And has the capability to be airborne within 200m, as against 1000 m required for normal runways.
With its special flight control law mode it also allows hands-free take-off. This reduces the pilot’s workload, as the aircraft leaps from the ramp and then automatically puts the aircraft in an ascending trajectory.
During the annual press conference in 2016, the former Naval chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had stated that the LCA in the present form “does not meet the carrier capability which has been specified by the Indian Navy ”, adding that they would continue to support the development programme. He had said in response to a question stated that the current weight of the naval LCA with the underpowered engine did not allow it to fly from a carrier.
Presently, the Indian Navy is operating Russian MiG-29K fighters from INS Vikramaditya, and will soon be flying the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant once it enters service. Also, evaluation of global tenders for 57 carrier-based twin engine fighter aircraft is going on by the Indian Navy.
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Source: Financial Express