NEW DELHI: The naval variant of the Tejas light combat aircraft on Saturday successfully conducted an “arrested landing” for the first time on the deck of aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, in a significant milestone for the indigenous fighter.
The naval Tejas, being flown by Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, made the landing on the carrier with arrestor wires – which abruptly stop fighters soon after landing on the deck because of limited runway length – just after 10 am. The Tejas had earlier completed extensive trials on the shore-based test facility (SBTF) at Goa.
“This is the first time an indigenous fighter, which has been designed and developed by DRDO, has made arrested landing on an aircraft carrier in India,” said an official. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited chief R Madhavan added, “HAL contributions included the landing gear, arrestor hook and support staff controlling at SBTF along with the Navy.”
But much more will be required for the naval Tejas prototype to become operational on the 44,400-tonne carrier INS Vikramaditya, as also the under-construction 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant. At present, the Navy operates 45 MiG-29K fighters, acquired from Russia for $2 billion, from INS Vikramaditya.
The Navy in the past has rejected the single-engine Tejas, stressing the “overweight” fighter cannot optimally operate from aircraft carriers. In December 2016, for instance, the then Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had said it did not meet the “thrust-to-weight requirement to take off with a full fuel and arms load” from an aircraft carrier’s deck.

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