India’s LCA Tejas Navy Conducts Maiden Night Time Arrested Landing

The naval variant of India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has conducted its maiden night time arrested landing at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) on Nov. 12.

The aircraft conducted its maiden arrested landing at the SBTF last month.

SBTF is located at INS Hansa, an Indian naval air station located near Dabolim in Goa. It was earlier used to train and certify Indian Navy Mikoyan MiG-29K fighter pilots for the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and is now used for the developmental trials of the naval HAL Tejas.

The LCA Navy is India’s first indigenous effort to build a carrier-borne fighter aircraft. The naval variant has strengthened airframe and landing gear, and a drooped nose for better cockpit vision during taking-offs and landings.

Naval Tejas prototypes, NP1 & NP2 are powered by General Electric F404-GE-F2J3 afterburning turbofan engines and are being used for initial testing purposes. They successfully completed testing in Goa during which the short take-off (200 meters) from SBTF were carried out along with hot refueling. The combat aircraft prototype is yet to conduct its flight test from an aircraft carrier.

The naval variant has conducted its maiden flight with tailhook attached in July last year and conducted its maiden taxi-in engagement to prove its arrestor hook system next month.

These new developments possibly denote the restart of the Naval LCA program. In December 2016, the Indian Navy announced that the Tejas fighter is overweight, and they will look for other alternatives. The Indian Navy eventually issued an RFI for 57 naval multirole fighter jets.

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