After successfully carrying out its first-ever night-time ‘arrested’ landing at Shore Based Test Facility INS Hansa, Goa, the naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft is getting ready for the Deck Landing trial soon. This has been a major success for all the agencies including the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and the Indian Navy which has been part of all these trials.
Since 2012, when the first LCA (Navy) took off two prototypes (NP 1 & 2) which have been built by the state-owned HAL are already under flight testing. After the end of successful tests, the way was paved for the indigenous aircraft to undertake Aircraft Carrier landing demonstration on board the Indian Naval Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikramaditya soon.
Team LCA with scientists and designers from DRDO, ADA and Indian Navy has been working behind the scenes in not only conceptualising the project but also in the experiments related to the complex software modes which are involved in this. Besides the structural expansion in the LCA Naval version, several experiments with multiple software options and hardware configurations have been carried out. These are related to avionics tools, display symbols to help the pilots and aerodynamic surfaces.
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In September this year, the naval version of the aircraft had achieved short landing with arrestor wires on the SBTF and joined a select group of countries including the US, Russia, the UK, and France which have the capability to design such an aircraft which lands on a carrier.
What is Arrested Landings?
It is an essential part of aircraft carrier flight operations and helps with high-strength wires which has a hook used in decelerating the aircraft and stop it on an aircraft carrier with a limited space of 100 meters unlike the 1 Km runway for land-based aircraft.
For the arrested landing there has to be a close coordination with crew on the flight deck combined with the pilot's skill, as the speed gets reduced considerably from 250 kmph to just zero in just a few seconds.
And in the night when there is no light the landing becomes more difficult.