After months of speculation that LCA Navy Program has been officially grounded due to lack of flight activities and Indian Navy’s refusal to accept the LCA-Navy. NP-2 (KH3002) today successfully carried out its first flight from INS Hansa Naval Base located in Goa with Tail Hook attachment hinting at the possibility of an imminent restart of the program.

Naval Prototypes (NP) 1&2 both have cleared ski-jump take-off intensive rounds of trials from the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) which mimics aircraft carriers and are usually used to for the training of the pilots who will operate the aircraft from the aircraft carriers.

As per Industrial sources close to, Software upgrading and hardware integration have been carried out successfully and the program is now shifting its focus to arrested landing trials first will be first demonstrated from SBTF before actual carrier trials from INS Vikramaditya begins.

While Navy and Ministry of Defence (MOD) are still funding LCA Navy Program to create necessary technology required to develop a carrier-based LCA Navy MK2 aircraft which actually will go into production and serve on Indian Aircraft carriers like INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant.

Navy changed its mind a few years back and instead asked for the development of Naval variant of 5th generation AMCA fighter jet which is still at the design stage and is at least 12-15 years away from entering production. IAF’s LCA MK-2 Project now called Medium Combat Fighter (MCW) due to increase in its Maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) puts the aircraft in a Medium weight category and will go on to replace Mirage-2000 and Mig-29 in IAF.

Navy is closely monitoring the MCW program and is yet to officially commit to the program but MOD is still funding the program and technology developed from LCA Navy program is likely to make it into Navy MCW Program if Navy accepts to induct them.

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