The second naval prototype (NP2) of light combat aircraft (LCA)-Tejas, built by Hindustan Aeronautical (HAL) for the Indian Navy, has successfully completed its maiden flight in Bangalore, India.
Being flown as part of the indigenous LCA navy programme, the prototype will also demonstrate carrier compatibility technology, including arrested landing and ski-jump take-off from HAL's Shore Based test facility, Goa, in June.
The test will involve assessing the strength of NP-2's airframe structure, equipped with its radar and weapons.
NP2 recently passed a cold weather test at Leh, by successfully making three successive starts at -15°C.
Customised to incorporate carrier landing supports, including Levcon Air Data Computer, auto-throttle, external and internal angle of attack lights, NP2 fixes several systemic deficiencies.
Integrating avionics hardware components as per the requirements of the Indian Navy, NP2 is the lead aircraft for arrestor-hook integration, derby-beyond visual range missiles and tactical data link.
Designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation's Aeronautical Development Agency in Bangalore, HAL is also building the LCA for the Indian Air Force.
The LCA are being built as part a 2009 Indian Navy order for six aircraft, which each one valued at $31.09m.
Image: The NP2 Tejas flew for around 35 minutes during its maiden flight. Photo: courtesy of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.