New Delhi: In a significant development, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) on Friday successfully carried out the first-ever ‘arrested landing’ of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas at a shore-based test facility in Goa. Also Read - HAL gets nod to produce weaponised version of LCA Tejas
The landing was carried out by LCA (Navy), the naval version of the indigenously developed Tejas fighter, at Indian Naval Ship (INS) in Goa. The development is important as it marks a major step towards operating the fighter from an aircraft carrier and make it ready for service with the Indian Navy.
According to an official statement, the landing was a result of several years of flight testing and four campaigns of dedicated testing at the shore-based facility. It will be carried out several times over and it is only once these tests are successful that the Navy’s test pilots will move on to the next step, which is to make an actual landing on INS Vikramaditya, India’s only operational aircraft carrier.
‘Arrested Landing’ refers to a fighter jet’s ability to come to a halt in a very short distance and is a key feature to land it on an aircraft carrier, where the facilities to do so are very limited. Such a landing has only been achieved by fighter jets from countries like US, UK, Russia, France and, most recently, China.
Designed by the ADA and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Tejas is a fighter jet for the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force (IAF). It belongs to the LCA programme, which began in the 1980s to replace the ageing MiG-21s. It got its official name ‘Tejas’ in 2003.
The first IAF Tejas unit, called Golden Daggers, was formed on July 1, 2016.