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Tejas makes arrested landing, India enters elite list

Last updated on: September 13, 2019 23:47 IST

In a major milestone in the development of a naval version of Tejas, the aircraft on Friday successfully carried out a successful "arrested landing", a key performance demonstrating its ability to land on board an aircraft carrier.

Military officials involved in the first ever "arrested landing" of the light combat aircraft said the successful test has put India among a select group of nations having capability to design a jet which can land on an aircraft carrier.

They said the test at a shore-based test facility in Goa demonstrated the aircraft's ability to halt at a short distance using wires attached to a hook mounted on its fuselage after landing.

"Today is a golden letter day in the history of Indian naval aviation," the defence ministry said in a statement.

 

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is involved in development of the naval variant of Tejas along with Aeronautical Development Agency, Aircraft Research and Design Centre of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and CSIR among others.

The first naval prototype (NP-1) of the Naval LCA -- a twin-seater -- made a "successful landing" on a 90-metre stretch after being flown by a pilot for about 40 minutes, they said.

"A normal LCA needs a runway spanning about 1-km for take-off and landing. But, for the naval variant, the take off stretch is about 200 m and landing needs 100 m. Today, the NP-1 made its maiden arrested landing, and it was a textbook landing," a DRDO source said.

"The landing took place at our SBTF (shore-based test facility) at INS Hansa in Goa. The touchdown was at about 11:45 am and the landing was at a very steep angle. This will pave the way for this indigenous platform for a coordinated aircraft carrier landing in the future," the source said.

INS Hansa is the "only SBTF (shore-based test facility) in the country" and was operationalised between 2012-2014, a senior official said.

The aircraft was piloted by Commodore J A Maolankar, the chief test pilot for the project, and assisted on ground by Capt Shiv Nath Dahiya, the landing safety officer and a flight test engineer, the sources said.

An LSO gives clearance for landing.

"The test at the INS Hansa in Goa paved the way for the aircraft to undertake aircraft carrier landing demonstration on board the Indian Naval aircraft carrier Vikramaditya," the ministry said.

The naval version of the aircraft is in development stage.

WATCH: LCA Tejas makes arrested landing at INS HANSA

"This arrested landing heralds the arrival of true indigenous capability and displays the professional prowess of our scientific community in executing this landmark event," the ministry said.

It said the test marked the start of a new era where multiple agencies have come together to achieve a common goal.

The Indian Air Force has already inducted a batch of Tejas aircraft.

Initially, the IAF had placed an order with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 40 Tejas aircraft.

Last year, the IAF issued the request for proposal to HAL for the procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of over Rs 50,000 crore.

"The participation of Certification Agency (CEMILAC), Quality Agency (DGAQA) and above all the men and women on the ground who serviced the aircraft and monitored it during strenous trails is truly commendable," the defence ministry said.

Asked about the future roadmap, a senior official said, "the data of the flight will be extensively analysed, and the next step will be decided".

After successfully replicating the test on shore, an aircraft carrier compatibility test will be conducted in the future, the sources said.

Asked if there was head-on air during landing, another official said, "required wind flow was there". 

What is an arrested landing

An arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is a mechanical system used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. 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.

In Friday's test landing, the fighter jet used a hook mounted on its fuselage to snare a wire to rapidly come to a halt after landing at a test facility.

An "arrested landing" on the deck of an aircraft carrier is a feat achieved by only a handful of fighter jets developed in the US, Russia, the UK, France and, more recently, China.

Photographs: @indiannavy/Twitter
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