Naval version of LCA Tejas makes `arrested landing' at shore-based test facility
13 September 2019
The Naval variant of indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas today successfully made a wire-arrested landing at Goa's Shore-based Test Facility (SBTF), INS Hansa, achieveing another milestone towards developing an indigenous fighter for Indian Navy's aircraft carriers.
After completing a series of such short and arrester landings on the land-based facility, Tejas Navy will get operational clearance to execute the same on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
The naval variant of LCA Tejas became the first aircraft in India to successfully perform an "arrested landing", in what is being billed as a major step in the programme to make the jet ready for service with the Navy.
The multirole fighter jet used a hook mounted on its fuselage to snare a wire to rapidly come to a halt after landing at the test facility. As the LCA Tejas Navy came for landing, its tailhook was lowered which was caught by the arrester wire resulting in the fighter coming to a stop just a few metres after touchdown. The plane had first flown with a tailhook on 23 July 2018.
The Naval version of LCA Tejas was first flown in April 2012 and the DRDO and ADA are currently testing two planes for the Navy. The Naval version of Tejas has been equipped with stronger landing gears as a plane which operates from an aircraft carrier needs stronger landing gears than one taking off and landing on a runway on the ground. Fighters taking off from an aircraft carrier need to get airborne in less than 200 metres as against almost a 1-kilometre long runway needed by jets taking off from a ground-based runway.
The ability to come to a halt in a very short distance is a key feature needed for operations on board an aircraft carrier where the real estate needed to land is limited.
To eventually make an approach onto the deck of INS Vikramaditya, LCA-N engineers and pilots need to be confident that the fighter can slam down onto the deck of a carrier at a 'sink rate' (rate of descent) of approximately 7.5 metres per second (1,500 feet per minute) without being damaged.
Engineers and pilots in the project are certain that they are on track to meet their landing certification target.