INDIA. Mumbai: In a landmark achievement, Indian Navy pilots successfully landed the prototype of the naval version of the locally made light combat aircraft (LCA Navy) on India’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on Monday. A landing and takeoff followed this by a twin-engine MiG-29K fighter jet.
The landing of the LCA (Navy) on deck demonstrated “Atma Nirbharta” (self-reliance) in India’s capability to design, develop, construct, and operate an indigenous aircraft carrier with indigenous fighter aircraft, the Defence Ministry statement read.
“The successful landing and takeoff of the indigenous LCA on India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier is a momentous step towards the realisation of our collective vision of ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India). The maiden landing of the MiG-29K also heralds the integration of the fighter aircraft with INS Vikrant. Congratulations to all those who made it happen,” Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar said in a message.
The aircraft’s precise landing on the deck using tail hooks and arrester wires came after hundreds of such practice drills at the shore-based testing facility at INS Hansa in Goa, where naval aviators perfected their skills before landing on INS Vikrant, which was sailing in the Arabian Sea off Goa. Currently, two prototypes of the Naval LCA-Mk1 are operational as part of the aircraft development.
“INS Vikrant is the most complex warship ever built in our country. It is a matter of pride that the ship has been designed in-house by Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau and constructed by M/s Cochin Shipyard Limited (Kerala),” the Defence Ministry said.
The ship sailed for its maiden sea trials on August 4, 2021. Since then, she has undergone sea sorties for trials of main propulsion, power generation equipment, fire fighting systems, aviation facility complex equipment, etc. INS Vikrant was commissioned into the Indian Navy on September 2, 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest on occasion.
INS Vikrant has also been undertaking extensive air operations with rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft since December 13, 2022, towards air certification and flight integration trials for achieving the ultimate aim of being “combat ready.”
“It is for the first time that trials of a prototype aircraft, indigenously designed and produced by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), were successfully undertaken on an indigenous aircraft carrier and enhanced the combat readiness of the Navy,” the statement read.
Also Read: INS Vikrant: PM Modi Unveils New Naval Ensign and Commissions INS Vikrant