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Marking a historic milestone, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval trainer prototype NP5 has successfully completed a series of landings and take-offs from India’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. This achievement, showcased in the recent DRDO Year-End Review 2023, signifies a major leap forward in India’s quest for self-reliance in naval aviation.

NP5, which made its maiden flight last August, was initially planned to undergo trials on both INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant. Its successful operation on Vikrant demonstrates the aircraft’s adaptability and robustness, paving the way for its seamless integration into the Indian Navy’s carrier operations.

This production-ready aircraft incorporates valuable learnings from previous prototypes, NP1 and NP2, making it a vital tool for gathering crucial data towards the development of the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF). This ambitious program aims to provide the Indian Navy with a next-generation, multi-role combat aircraft, replacing the aging Russian Mig-29Ks.

he successful carrier trials offer several critical benefits:

  • Accelerated Development: Data collected from NP5’s operations will significantly expedite the design and development of TEDBF, bringing India closer to its goal of a domestically built carrier-borne fighter.
  • Enhanced Training: LCA Navy can serve as an effective training platform for Indian Navy pilots, familiarizing them with carrier operations and honing their skills for future TEDBF deployment.
  • Boosting Self-Reliance: Successful trials on INS Vikrant solidify India’s growing capabilities in designing, building, and operating aircraft carrier systems, reducing dependence on foreign imports.

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