Indian Naval Aviation is all set to make History soon with the first indigenously developed Naval fighter aircraft to commence deck landing and take off from India’s biggest military ship, INS Vikramaditya after NLCA Mk-1 prototype completed the second phase of the short landing trials at the shore-based test facility in Goa.

According to the prominent defense expert, Sandeep Unnithan has said that as per his sources NLCA Mk-1trials will be conducted on the INS Vikramaditya before Dec 31 this year. ADA and DRDO have achieved all possible scenarios under which an aircraft can come to land on the deck of the aircraft carrier, including at the night which was also recently demonstrated.

Under Phase one of the trials, ADA and DRDO with Naval Aviators successfully demonstrated all possible angles and take off speeds required for successful take-off from the ski-jump ramp. NLCA Mk-1 also demonstrated computer-assisted auto-take off with various under-wing load in Air Defence configuration.

NLCA Mk-1 due to its sub-optimal design due to the adaption of the Airforce variant into the Navy variant has many shortfalls in the full mission capabilities sought by the Indian Navy. Hence, LCA Navy Mk2, a new program with a higher thrust engine was sanctioned in 2009 and for the first time, the NLCA Mk-2 model was also displayed at the Aero India 2019 earlier this year.

NLCA Mk-2 design has increased wing area and addition of stabilator for improved control and performance, additional hard-points for improved mission effectiveness along with 17 tonnes Maximum take-off weight with improved avionics and Aesa Radar. First, two prototypes of the NLCA Mk-2 which are NP-3 and NP-4 (both fighters) will go into construction soon and the third prototype called NP-5 which will be a trainer variant will also be developed but it will be based on Mk-1.


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