LCA Tejas lands on INS Vikramaditya: In a major boost to India’s effort to develop indigenous naval aviation arm, indigenously designed and developed light combat aircraft Tejas successfully landed on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Saturday. The maiden landing of the world’s lightest operational combat aircraft Tejas was perfectly fine in the first attempt itself as the naval version of LCA Tejas flown by the Commodore Jaideep Maolankar landed on the aircraft carrier at around 10 am in the morning. The hook of the aircraft carrier arrested the aircraft which came down to a swift halt as expected, marking a milestone in the history of naval aviation of the country.
“After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF), Naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) did a successful arrested landing onboard INS Vikramaditya at 1002 hrs today,” defence ministry said in a statement.
While the aircraft was flown by Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, Captain Dahiya was the Landing Safety Officer (LSO) and Cdr Vivek Pandey was the Test Director on the ship. In addition to these officers, Group Captain Kabadwal and Cdr Ankur Jain were monitoring the aircraft through telemetry from the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Test Facility.
Naval version of LCA has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Traditionally, Indian Navy has been the sole operator of an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean region but its naval aviation arm was comprised of foreign jets. It earlier operated British made Sea Harrier jets on INS Vikrant and INS Virat aircraft carriers. However, after a glorious service of over 3 decades, the Sea Harriers were retired from the service of Indian Navy in 2016.
Indian Navy is presently operating Russian Mig 29Ks from its sole aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya which was also acquired from Russia.
At present,Indian Navy has 45 Mig 29K fighters, the last ones were ordered in 2010. It can deploy up to 30 Mig 29Ks on INS Vikramaditya. Recently, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh confirmed that INS Vikrant will be ready for service by 2022. India’s indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant will also have a fleet of Mig 29Ks but the development of indigenous naval aviation capacity is in sync with the long term strategy of self reliance in terms of critical weapon systems.
Secretary, Department of Defence R&D & Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated DRDO, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Indian Navy, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) teams for the successful maiden landing of LCA Tejas on INS Vikramaditya.