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Navy's Light Combat Aircraft rolls out of the hangar

Last updated on: July 6, 2010 16:17 IST

Navy's Light Combat Aircraft rolls out of hangar

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

India's first indigenous naval Light Combat Aircraft LCA NP1 was rolled out on Tuesday from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facility in Bangalore.

Defence Minister A K Antony described as "a defining and a memorable moment" the roll-out of the two-seater LCA (Navy) NP1 whose first test-flight is expected by this year-end.

Antony indicated that he would like the first flight to take place by the end of the year. HAL, however, while keeping December as an outer limit are hopeful that it would take place by October itself.

Once the ground based tests are completed, the 'NP1' is expected to fly by October and the NP2 is likely to fly by the end of 2011. Click on NEXT to read about Naval LCA's capabilities


Photographs: KPN Photo
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NP1 may fly by the end of 2010

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The LCA (Navy) is the first indigenous effort to build a complete air element for the Indian Navy. The aircraft would be flying with the GE-F-404-IN20 engine and is specifically designed for ski jump take off and arrested landing, with high landing loads compared to its Air Force counterpart.  

The main aim of LCA (Navy) NP1 and its Fighter counterpart (NP2) is to prove itself with its technologies incorporated as a formidable platform to be a suitable replacement to the aging fleet of Sea Harriers at a later date in a derivative MK2 configuration with a higher thrust engine and optimised mass.

"It is a defining and a memorable moment as it will give boost to indigenisation," Antony said at the event attended by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, Secretary (Defence Production) and top officials of HAL and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).


Photographs: KPN Photo
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Fully equipped killer

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This aircraft, with considerable technology and punch for years to come, is expected to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy plans to acquire.

The formal sanction by the government for the Naval programme was accorded in the year 2003.

The first stage of development included design and fabrication of one Trainer and one Fighter, NP1 and NP2 respectively, along with a Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Goa, to simulate carrier take off and arrested landing. A complete airframe called Structural Test Specimen required for structural testing is also being and tested as part of the Programme.

LCA (Navy) is the only carrier borne aircraft in the light category.

The LCA Navy will be operating with a vide variety of operational role equipments like the BVR missile, Anti shipping Missiles, Conventional bombs, Air Defence guns, CCM's and drop tanks.


Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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Behind the scene

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Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore is responsible for the design, development, build, ground test and flight test of both the Naval and Air Force versions of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

HAL is the Principal Partner of ADA in this task.

The Indian Navy, CEMILAC and DGAQA have played an important role right from its inception supporting the programme.

LCA Navy has also been nurtured by various agencies/organisations including DRDO, CSIR, PSUs, Universities and Private Sector participants. Antony utilised the occasion to urge all the partners including ADA, HAL, DRDO and CSIR to "not only maintain the tempo but to take it to the feverish pitch and ensure the first flight of NP1 in the next three to four months".

10 prototypes of the Air Force version of the LCA have completed about 1400 flights so far.


Image: File photo of a LCA trainer aircraft taking off from Leh
Photographs: Wikimedia Commons
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