Two Technology Demonstrator of LCA-Navy NP-1 & 2 which has been busy carrying out the final round of shore trails at the SBTF facility at INS Hansa in Goa, achieved a major milestone after it was able to make control landing using its tail-hooks at the designated Landing Area by using arresting wire facility at SBTF which mimics arrested landings onboard aircraft carriers like INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant which is being built at Kochi.

In Phase-I, LCA-Navy had perfected Take-off the ski-jump facility after multiple rounds of shore trials. ADA officials and Naval Aviators under the supervision of specialists carried out multiple take-off approach to determine the best carrier take for the program and also carried out several enhancements to software to carry out Automated Take-Off function for easier takeoffs from an aircraft carrier.

In Phase-II, NP-1 & 2 were integrated with ” Tail hooks” and several pre-phase-II trails were carried out to study the effect of Tail hooks on the flight profile and drag issues if any in Bangalore before it was again moved back to INS Hansa in Goa for shore trails at the SBTF facility.

Completion of Phase-II means that both NP-1 & 2 can be cleared to commence aircraft carrier trials for which INS Vikramaditya will be prepped and moved closer to the INS Hansa Naval base. According to industry sources close to Aircraft Carrier trials to will move in Phases and in first phase aircraft will fly over the aircraft carrier landing deck without an actual touchdown and then it will move to touch down but no landing as aircraft will continue to push its throttle.

Data will be collected to gauge external and internal Angle of attack so has to see if it meets simulation data, flight control data to will need to be studied before aircraft are actually allowed to land onboard INS Vikramaditya. Aircraft carrier takeoffs and landings will also be taken up in phases and will need to meet all criteria of operational requirements before the program is declared successful.

Both NP-1 & 2 are Technology Demonstrator based on the modified air-frame of the LCA-AF and will not enter production. ADA earlier this year showcased brand new LCA-Mk2 design which will be 17-tonne carrier-borne aircraft which will be powered by high powered GE-414IN engine with improved fuel and weapons carrying capacity which will meet requirements set by Indian Navy.

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