LCA Navy Trainer Prototype NP5 Successfully Completes its Maiden Flight

Indian Navy

Bengaluru: The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval trainer prototype NP5 successfully completed its maiden flight on August 18.

The maiden flight of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval Trainer Prototype ‘NP5’ was successfully conducted on Friday. The maiden flight was conducted from HAL airport, and the aircraft was captained by Capt Amit Kawade (IN) with Wg Cdr Siddarth Singh (Retd) in the rear cockpit, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) said in a release. The aircraft took off at 14:20 hrs and was airborne for 57 minutes with all parameters normal, it said.

Designed and developed jointly by ADA and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), LCA Navy can also serve as an effective training platform for Indian Navy pilots for operations from the aircraft carriers. Addition of NP5 aircraft to LCA Navy prototype fleet will help to accelerate flight testing activities which will provide designers vital inputs towards design and development of the Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter (TEDBF), the prestigious futuristic carrier aircraft programme of the country.

The new prototype NP5 will soon undertake field and carrier operations from both INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, ADA said, adding it will incorporate all improvements identified during exploitation of NP1 and NP2 is a production ready aircraft. It will also incorporate the production standard airframe and rainwater compliance, maintainability improvements as well as futuristic system advancement.

The first trainer prototype NP1 was flown on April 27, 2012 and the fighter prototype NP2 was flown on February 7, 2015. Both Naval Prototypes (NP1 and NP2) have achieved major landmark milestones like Ski Jump take off and arrested landing demonstrations on Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at Dabolim Airport, Goa and operations from indigenous aircraft carriers. The aircraft demonstrated 18 arrested landings and Ski Jump take offs from INS Vikramaditya in January 2020, including hot refuelling capability. Recently, LCA Navy participated in the carrier trials from INS Vikrant and performed 10 Ski Jump take offs and arrested landings on February 6, 2023.

The LCA Navy is equipped with state-of-the-art technologies such as Fly-by-wire flight control system, glass cockpit and advanced mechanical systems. The aircraft can be operated seamlessly both during the day and night. It features advanced hands free ski jump take-off and landing flight control modes. LCA Navy Prototypes are carrier compatible and can operate with Air-to-Air weapons for combat missions.

Congratulating the team, the Director General-ADA, who witnessed the first flight said that today’s flight of NP5 is a culmination of combined efforts of ADA, HAL, CEMILAC (Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification), DGAQA (Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance) and several other Government and Private industries. And during an interaction, Capt Amit Kawade expressed that the handling qualities were extremely satisfactory and all test points envisaged have been successfully completed.