The Indian Navy has successfully completed the maiden test-flight of the first indigenously designed and developed fourth-plus generation naval light combat aircraft (LCA) prototype.
The test was conducted at the ski-jump facility of the shore-based test facility at INS Hansa, Goa.
DDR&D DG DRDO secretary Dr Avinash Chander said: "With today’s copybook flight of LCA-navy from the land based ski-jump facility, we see our own indigenous combat aircrafts soon flying from the decks of our aircraft carriers."
Designed to operate from the decks of aircraft carriers, the LCA’s stronger landing gears take in forces exerted by the ski-jump ramp during take-off, and enable it to be airborne within 200m, compared to a 1000m requisite for conventional runways.
The Indian Defence Ministry said in a statement: "The maiden successful picture-perfect launch of NP1 is a testimony to the tremendous efforts put in by scientists and engineers to design the naval aircraft, its simulator [that helps pilots to know well in advance how the aircraft will behave on ski-jump] and the flight test team that timed the whole event to near perfection."
The aircraft has a special flight control mode that enables hands-free take-off, reducing the pilot workload.
The navy is awaiting the LCA-2 aircraft, which is expected to include a more powerful engine.
Image: The Indian Navy’s LCA prototype 1 (NP1) during flight. Photo: courtesy of the Indian Navy.