BALASORE: The first naval prototype of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) NP1 was successfully flight tested off the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at a naval air station in Goa on Saturday. Defence sources this indigenously designed and developed fourth plus generation combat aircraft to be operated from the decks of air-craft carriers flown from ski-jump facility of the SBTF at INS Hansa.
It was a defining moment when the LCA (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1), piloted by chief test pilot of national flight test centre Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, took-off majestically at about 12.34 pm. The aircraft had a perfect flight with results matching the predicted ones.
The readiness and availability of aircraft for the event was made possible through the relentless effort of Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
Scientific advisor to Defence Minister and DRDO Chief Avinash Chander congratulated the LCA Navy program team. “With the copybook flight of LCA-Navy from the land based ski-jump facility we see our own indigenous combat aircrafts soon flying from the decks of our aircraft carriers”, he said.
The launch was orchestrated by the Test Director J D Raturi and Safety Pilot Shivnath Dahiya supported by Anoop Kabadwal, RR Tyagi and Vivek Pandey. Praising the team Director General Aeronautics Dr Tamilmani said a complex task of ski jump of NP1 executed beautifully.
LCA (Navy) – A Giant Leap for Indian Naval Aviation LCA (Navy) is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off, to be airborne within 200 meter as against 1,000 meter required for normal runways. Its special flight control law mode allows hands-free take-off relieving the pilot workload, as the aircraft leaps from the ramp and automatically puts the aircraft in an ascending trajectory.
The maiden successful, picture perfect launch of NP1 is a testimony to the tremendous efforts put in by scientists and engineers to design the Naval aircraft, its simulator (that helps pilots to know well in advance how the aircraft will behave on ski jump) and the flight test team that timed the whole event to near perfection.
The SBTF has been created to replicate the aircraft carrier with a ski jump for take-off and handle gear cable for arrested landing, by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration of the Indian Navy, Goa shipyard, Pune based CCE (R&D) West and R&D Engg (E) apart from the Russian agencies providing the design support and specialised equipment.
The LCA Navy program team of ADA is jubilant on the achievement of the remarkable feat that is the culmination of several years of design, flight test, simulation and management effort with significant contributions from a number of DRDO laboratories.
The teams were ably supported by the certification agency CEMILAC and the quality assurance agency CRI (LCA). INS Hansa, the Naval Air Station played the perfect host to achieve this significant milestone.
The design teams guided by Program Director ADA P S Subramanyam have ensured that all systems meet the stringent requirements of Carrier borne aircraft. C D Balaji (Retd) as Project Director LCA (Navy) and its Chief Designer has been at the helm of affairs right from the concept phase.
The team led by Dr Amitabh Saraf indigenously achieved the flight control laws that take care of the problems encountered by a fly by wire aircraft undertaking a ski jump launch in agencies providing the design support and specialised equipment.