LCA naval variant makes history, lands on aircraft carrier for 1st time

Only US, France, Russia, China have aircraft that are capable of arrested landings

Tejas Viki A collage of the naval LCA (DRDO) and the INS Vikramaditya (Indian Navy)

The naval variant of the indigenous LCA Tejas fighter has made its first landing on the INS Vikramaditya, India's only aircraft carrier, on Saturday.

The Indian Navy's Twitter handle informed, "The developmental LCA (N) MK1 achieved an important milestone today with the successful Arrested Landing on board the #IndianNavy aircraft carrier ".

The DRDO informed the landing was conducted by Commodore Jaideep Maolankar. “After completing extensive trials on the Shore Based Test Facility, DRDO, ADA developed LCA Navy did an arrested landing on INS Vikramaditya successfully today 11 jan 2020 at 10:02 hours. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar did the maiden landing,” DRDO tweeted.

The 'arrested' landing on an aircraft carrier, which involves use of high-tensile-strength wires restraining the aircraft as its lands, put the Indian Navy in an elite club. Only the US, France, Russia and China have in-service aircraft that are capable of making arrested landings on an aircraft carrier.

The Indian Navy informed that with the landing of the naval LCA on the Vikramaditya, indigenous technologies for deck-based operations have been proven, which will pave the way to develop a new "twin-engine" deck-based fighter. "With this feat, the indigenously developed niche technologies specific to deck based fighter operations have been proven, which will now pave the way to develop and manufacture the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter for the #IndianNavy,” the Navy tweeted.

The carrier landing had been expected as the DRDO had announced it was conducting overflights of the naval LCA over the Vikramaditya off the Karwar coast. In September last year, the naval LCA had made its first arrested landing on a shore-based test facility.

The arrested landing is expected to lead to commencement of trials on the Vikramaditya, which would also involve the naval LCA taking off from the ski-jump of the ship, carrying weapons and fuel.