Nearly two years after it was first rolled out,the naval variant of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) had its maiden flight here on Friday.
The first prototype of the LCA naval variant identified as NP-1 flew for about 20 minutes with its landing gear down as is done on maiden flights and within a designated flight envelope,an official note from the manufacturers of the aircraft Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said.
The LCA naval variant programme has two proposed prototypes,a two seat trainer (NP-1) and a single seat fighter (NP-2),as technology demonstrators to carry out carrier suitability certification and weapons integration, HAL said.
The major modifications in technology on the naval variant from the Air Force variant is a Leading Edge Vortex Control Surface to reduce the forward speed of the aircraft during landings on aircraft carriers,telescopic landing gears with high sink rate,an arrester hook for deck recovery and fuel dump system for emergency deck recovery.
The naval variant of the LCA is specifically designed for take off from a 14 degree ramp on the aircraft carrier and will use the Arrester Hook System to facilitate landing within the deck length of 90 metres.
The naval variant was first rolled out in July 2010 and a maiden flight was expected in October that year as per demands placed on the aircraft development agencies by the Indian Navy.
The Ski-jump Take-off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system used for the naval variant for take off and landing from naval ships makes it the second such carrier aircraft of its kind in the world,DRDO officials involved in its development have said.