India joined a select group of countries on Saturday morning when its domestically-produced naval version of a light combat aircraft (LCA) successfully landed on the deck of aircraft carrier INS Vikrmaditya in the Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy confirmed that a two-seater LCA successfully landed on Vikramaditya's deck at 10:02 a.m. (Indian Standard Time).
“With this feat, the indigenously developed niche technologies specific to deck based fighter operations have been proven, which will now pave the way to develop and manufacture a twin engine deck-based fighter for the Indian Navy", the Navy said while joining countries such as the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China with the "textbook" arrested landing.
The developmental LCA (N) MK1 achieved an important milestone today with the successful Arrested Landing on board the #IndianNavy aircraft carrier #INSVikramaditya. @PMOIndia@DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD @DRDO_India @PIB_India @DDNational— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 11, 2020
The Air Force variant of the LCA has been named Tejas and is already operational. The Air Force has put in an order for 83 additional Tejas. The present air variant is capable of undertaking air defence operations and a conventional ground attack with heavy bombs.
The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) contributions included landing gear, arrestor hook and support staff controlling at SBTF Goa along with Indian Navy, HAL chief R Madhavan told Sputnik.
After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility, DRDO, ADA developed LCA Navy did an arrested landing on INS Vikramaditya succesfully today 11 jan 2020 at 10:02 hours. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar did the maiden landing.— DRDO (@DRDO_India) January 11, 2020
The naval version of the LCA received a major setback when in December 2016, the then Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba rejected the jet in the form it was at that time. The Navy then issued a request for information to buy 57 new fighters to supplement the Russian-built MiG-29Ks that it presently operates.
"The deck landing of Tejas LCA is indeed a landmark event. Displays strengthened undercarriage and other Deck specific modifications. Also makes LCA much more versatile than the Pakistan competitor JF 17 Thunder. Also gives great boost to indigenous defence design and production capacity. Also becomes a launch pad for future aircraft development programs," says Air Marshal Anil Chopra (retired).
The Indian Navy is looking to replace the MiG-29K by 2030-31 and the developer Aeronautical Development Agency in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited expect the first flight of the advanced version of the naval LCA by 2026.