Tejas test runs for landing on INS Vikramaditya
A test pilot flying a light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas on Thursday successfully snagged the jet’s tail hook on the arresting wire at a test facility in Goa, said a Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) spokesperson.
The naval variant of the homegrown LCA took the first step towards landing on the flight deck of India’s only aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya. The carrier, currently, operates Russian-origin MiG-29K fighters from its deck.
This was the first in a series of rigourous tests that will be carried out before the fighter can be tested for actual flight deck operations, which could take more than a year.
Landing on a carrier requires snagging a maritime fighter’s tailhook on one of the arresting wires on the flight deck as the runway space is scarce.
The ‘arrested landing’ brings the fighter to a grinding halt, with its landing speed coming down from 130 knots to zero in a couple of seconds.
“India has joined the select club of US, Europe, Russia and China having the capability of deck landing of fighter aircraft,” the spokesperson said.
He said the naval prototype 2 (NP2), piloted by captain Shivnath Dahiya, executed the first contact of the arrestor-hook system at “moderate taxi-in speeds” at the shore-based test facility (SBTF) in Goa, by which he meant that it was a ground test (the plane wasn’t actually landing) carried out at 50 to 60 knots.
“The next ground tests will involve testing the landing system at taxi-in speeds of 80 to 90 knots. This will be followed by an actual test with the plane landing at its actual speed of 130 knots,” said a senior navy official monitoring the project.