The country’s first indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the Navy was unveiled in Bangalore on Tuesday. The plane is to take its first test-flight later this year and will be inducted in 2015.
The LCA NP1 was rolled out in the presence of Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on the premises of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
“It is a defining and memorable moment. Efforts like these will give the indigenisation process a shot in the arm,” Antony said.
The aircraft, developed under the naval programme of HAL’s Aeronautical Development Agency, will undergo systems integration tests for ground runs, taxi trials.
It will be ready for its first test-flight by the year-end. And by 2015, it will be deployed on board the indigenous aircraft carrier currently under construction at the Cochin shipyard, officials said.
The plane will be flown with the US-made GE-F-404-IN20 engine and is specially designed for ski-jump take-offs from an elevated platform, and arrested landing. It has higher landing loads compared to its Indian Air Force counterpart.
The LCA will operate with a variety of equipment such as Beyond-visual-range missiles, anti-ship missiles, conventional bombs, air defence guns, counter-counter measures and drop tanks.