India now dominates the full cycle of operations with carrier-based aircraft, a milestone few countries have reached. On February 7, the naval version of the LCA Tejas fighter produced by HAL completed the first takeoffs and landings on the INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier built in the country, the Indian Ministry of Defense reported.
“The successful landing and take off of the indigenous LCA Navy on India’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is a momentous step forward towards the realization of our collective vision of AatmaNirbharBharat,” said Chief of Naval Staff of India, Admiral R Hari Kumar.
AatmaNirbhar Bharat is a government incentive program to make India self-reliant and competitive in key technological fields.
Despite naval tests, the Indian Navy has not yet ordered the aircraft produced in the country, unlike the Indian Air Force, which already operates more than 40 aircraft of the type.
In addition to the Tejas, MiG-29K fighter jets from the Indian Navy also performed the first takeoffs and landings at INS Vikrant. “The maiden landing of the Mig-29K also heralds the integration of the fighter aircraft with INS Vikrant,” added Kumar.
Commissioned by the Indian Navy in September 2022, INS Vikrant is the second aircraft carrier in service in India. Another vessel of this type in the country’s fleet is the INS Vikramaditya, built in the 1980s in the former Soviet Union.
In common, the two aircraft carriers in service in India are of the STOBAR type (acronym for short take-off but arrested recovery), which replace the use of catapults to launch aircraft by a ramp.
Despite the tests carried out with the Tejas and the MiG-29K, India’s main naval fighter in the coming years could be the French Dassault Rafale M or the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which even demonstrated the ability to take off by ramp recently.
‘Championing self-reliance: #Indigenous all the way
— IN (@IndiannavyMedia) February 7, 2023