Ahead of the Aero-India 2023 next week, a historical milestone was achieved towards Atmanirbhar Bharat as the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (naval version) landed onboard INS Vikrant.
The aircraft flown by an Indian Navy pilot demonstrated India’s capability to design, develop, construct & operate indigenous aircraft carriers with local fighter jets. With this successful landing on the newly commissioned aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, India has joined a select group of countries that have developed aircraft which have the capability of landing and taking off from the limited confines of an aircraft carrier deck.
The indigenous aircraft has been undergoing different trials and today’s successful landing on the deck is a huge achievement, for all the agencies involved in this – Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the Indian Navy, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
The Indian Navy is expected to soon down select fighters which have to be operated from the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers – the choice is between the French Rafale (M) and the US based Boeing Company’s Super Hornet F/A-18 jets. It has been reported earlier that India will procure some fighter jets from either of the two companies mentioned above as interim – it is keen to go for the indigenous LCA naval version.
Naval Version of LCA
This variant of the indigenous aircraft has been designed in India and comes with stronger landing gears. These landing gears have the capability to absorb forces which are exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off. And it has the capability to be airborne within 200m, as against the 1000 m required for normal runways.
The indigenous fighter jet has come a long way in its development from the variant available for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and twin seater version and the LCA (N) fighter and twin-seater. There are other variants in the works – LCA Lead-in Fighter Trainer (LIFT) and MK-2.
At the forthcoming Aero-India 2023, India’s advancements in fixed-wing aviation will be showcased at the ‘India Pavilion,’ This pavilion is based on the ‘Fixed Wing Platform’ theme and the full scale LCA-Tejas aircraft in its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) configuration will be displayed.