The naval version of India’s light combat aircraft Tejas made its maiden flight successfully after almost two years of its roll-out. The ‘four-plus’ generation Carrier Borne fly-by-wire STOBAR (Ski Take Off But Arrested Recovery) aircraft was put through various maneuvers, including low speed handling and close formation flying at slow speed with another aircraft, during the 22 minute test flight in Bangalore.
The two-seater LCA Navy NP1 completed intensive ground testing regimen like low speed taxi trials (LSD), high speed taxi trials (HSD), ground vibration test (GVT), structural coupling test (SCT) and extensive system integration tests with power plant using state-of-the-art facilities at Bengaluru’s Hindustan Aeronautics airport.
Tejas is the first attempt to provide a complete marine force multiplier that will give a unique punch to the Naval aviation arm. LCA Navy is the second STOBAR carrier borne aircraft in the world after the Russian deck based aircraft. But this will be the only Carrier borne fighter aircraft in the light category.
The design and development of the aircraft was done by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) under the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) alongwith a host of organizations, both state-owned and private. With this India achieved self-reliance in taking up more Naval aircraft projects.
Navy is now setting up a shore-based test facility in Goa, replicating an aircraft carrier with a ski-jump for launch and arresting gear for deck recovery. The test facility is expected to be ready by the end of the year.