India on April 27 conducted the first flight of the naval version of its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
The 20-min. naval prototype (NP-1) test sortie took place over Bengaluru and was flown by Air Commodore T.A. Maolankar and co-pilot Wing Commander Maltesh Prabhu. The aircraft executed various maneuvers, including low-speed handling and close formation flying at slow speed with another aircraft, a defense ministry official says.
The LCA is expected to replace the Indian navy's aging fleet of British-built Sea Harriers and complement its fleet of MiG-29 carrier aircraft. The aircraft is the second short-takeoff-but-arrested-recovery (stobar) fighter in the world along with the Russian deck-based aircraft, and will be the only carrier-borne fighter in the light category.