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Indian Navy Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Lands First Time on Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant

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Indian Navy Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Lands First Time on Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant

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Indian Navy Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Lands First Time on Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant
Indian Navy Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Lands First Time on Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant

A prototype of the Naval variant of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) on Monday undertook its maiden landing on board the Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. The successful landing and take-off of the LCA prototype from INS Vikrant is set to pave the way for the development and manufacturing of the ambitious twin-engine deck-based fighter aircraft for the Indian Navy by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). It said the landing demonstrated India’s capability to design, develop, construct and operate indigenous aircraft carriers with indigenous fighter aircraft. Separately, the Russian-origin MiG-29K aircraft also undertook a maiden landing on board INS Vikrant, the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, officials said.

INS Vikrant is an aircraft carrier constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) at Kerala for the Indian Navy. It is the first aircraft carrier built in India. It is named Vikrant as a tribute to India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant (1961). The name Vikrant means “courageous” in Sanskrit. The motto of the ship, “I defeat those who fight against me”. Up to 26 Dassault Rafale-M or Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet fighter jets along with 4 Kamov Ka-31 helicopters or 2 HAL Dhruv NUH[24] utility helicopters or 4 MH-60R multi-role helicopters will fly from INS Vikrant. Its commissioning ceremony was held on 2 September 2022. Aircraft flight trials will be completed in 2023.

Naval variant of LCA lands first time on Indian Navy  aircraft carrier INS Vikrant
Naval variant of LCA lands first time on Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. (Photo by Indian Navy)

Up to 26 naval fighter jets (Dassault Rafale-M, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet or Mig-29K) along with 4 Kamov Ka-31 helicopters or 2 HAL Dhruv NUH utility helicopters or 4 MH-60R multi-role helicopters will fly from INS Vikrant. At 262 metres (860 ft) long and 62 metres (203 ft) wide, displaces about 45,000 tonnes (44,000 long tons; 50,000 short tons), with a top speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph), and endurance of 7,500 nautical miles (13,900 km; 8,600 mi), the ship has 2,300 compartments manned by 1700 seamen. It features a STOBAR (Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery or Short Take-Off, Barrier Arrested Recovery) configuration.It has a hospital complex, cabins for female officers, two football field-sized flight decks, and eight generators.

LCA Tejas is a 4.5 generation, all weather and multi-role fighter aircraft. The Naval LCA programme was commenced in 2003. The naval LCA has stronger landing gear to absorb the forces generated during carrier take off and arrested recovery. In January 2020, the naval prototype NP-2 naval LCA successfully carried out its first arrested landing and ski-jump assisted take-off from the aircraft-carrier INS Vikramaditya. The mission can either be in a light strike or attack missions, reconnaissance, interdiction roles or trainer roles. They are typically slower than larger multirole or strike aircraft such as the American F-18 or Russian MiG-29. An LCA will typically be equipped with bombs, gun pods, or short-range air-to-air missiles used for COIN or CAS missions.

Naval variant of LCA lands first time on Indian Navy  aircraft carrier INS Vikrant
Naval variant of LCA lands first time on Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. (Photo by Indian Navy)

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