The carrier variant of India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA Tejas) will make its maiden flight in July. It should be said that confidence for the LCA Navy’s first flight has taken its time coming. The programme team had initially aimed at getting the naval trainer prototype NP-1 airborne in December last year.
The DRDO’s chief controller for aeronautical programmes Dr Prahlada was recently quoted by a newspaper as saying, “Being the first flight of the LCA naval programme, we want to ensure that everything is put in place before the first flight and that the programme is as successful as the Indian Air Force (IAF) version which has had no accidents since it started flight tests on January 4, 2001.”
The LCA Navy programme team has faced challenges in strengthening the platform’s landing gear and refining its sink-rate parameters.