The Indian Navy’s light combat aircraft (LCA) and MiG-29K aircraft have successfully conducted maiden landing and take-off operations aboard indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant.

Announced by the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the maiden flight operation was executed by Indian Naval Test Pilots on 6 February.

The landing operation of naval variant of LCA on INS Vikrant’s flight deck has validated the country’s ability to design, develop and operate the IAC with a prototype combat aircraft, designed and built indigenously by Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics.

This has also given a major boost to the Indian Government’s ‘AatmaNirbharta’ initiative.

Meanwhile, MiG-29K multi-role fighter aircraft’s landing aboard Vikrant has demonstrated the integration capability of fighter aircraft to work in coordination with newest IAC.

The successful completion of aviation trials has further validated the operational readiness of the Indian Navy and its newest IAC to undertake combat missions.

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Indian Navy naval staff chief admiral R Hari Kumar said: “The successful landing and take-off of indigenous LCA Navy on India’s first IAC is a momentous step forward towards realisation of our collective vision of AatmaNirbharBharat.

“The maiden landing of Mig-29K also heralds the integration of the fighter aircraft with INS Vikrant. Congratulations to all those who made it happen.”

Commissioned in September last year, INS Vikrant has been designed by Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau and constructed by Cochin Shipyard (CSL).

Following its commissioning, the 262.5m-long and 61.6m-wide Vikrant-class aircraft carrier has been engaged in carrying out various extensive air certification and flight integration trials with rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

The trial series started on 13 December 2022 and aims to make INS Vikrant ‘combat ready’. The latest aviation trials are also part of this effort.