Friday, December 2, 2011

India's first naval fighter to take to skies this month

Indian Navy would soon add the air element to its ranks with the first carrier-borne naval fighter aircraft "LCA Tejas (Navy)" all set to take its maiden flight this month, a top defence official said today.

"LCA (Navy) will be flown in the month of December.I think by the end of this month, it should fly", V K Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Director General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.

According to DRDO officials the aircraft is currently going through a phase of refinements based on feedback and observations during the September EGR (Engine Ground Run) of the LCA Tejas (Navy) prototype NP1. This would be followed by a series of final integration checks and taxi trials before the first flight.

The officials said the aircraft will have a wide variety of operational weapons and equipment like beyond visual range missiles, anti-ship missiles, conventional bombs, air defence guns and drop tanks.

Equipped with state-of-the art technologies and punch, the aircraft is designed to operate from the future Indigenous aircraft carriers the Navy plans to acquire, they said.

The team steering the project comprises of members from the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, HAL, DRDO, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), CSIR Labs, educational institutions along with other public and private sector partners.

Aeronautical Development Agency, a Bangalore-based DRDO lab, is responsible for the design, development, build, ground test and flight test of both the Naval and Air Force versions of the aircraft.