TEJAS Navy Successfully Takes Off From Aircraft Carrier In Major Feat
The naval version of the indigenously-built TEJAS light combat aircraft on Sunday successfully took off from the “ski-jump” deck of the aircraft carrier INS VIKRAMADITYA in a big leap in overall development of the jet.
The ski-jump is the upwardly curved ramp on the deck of aircraft carriers designed to provide sufficient take-off lift for fighter jets.
“The naval version of TEJAS achieved another important milestone today by successfully undertaking the maiden ski-jump take-off from INS VIKRAMADITYA ,” a Navy Spokesperson said.
On Saturday, the aircraft made its first landing on the deck of the Aircraft Carrier which was also a major milestone.
Both the landing and take off by the aircraft put India among a select group of nations having the capability to design such a jet which can operate from an aircraft carrier.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is involved in development of the naval variant of TEJAS along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Aircraft Research and Design Centre of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and CSIR among others.
“This landmark event demonstrates professional commitment and synergy between various agencies ADA, HAL, CEMILAC and Indian Navy in harnessing the potential of our scientists, engineers and naval flight testing community towards meeting the expectations of the nation,” the Indian Navy tweeted.
After Saturday’s successful landing of the aircraft on the Carrier Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called it a “great event” in the history of Indian fighter aircraft development programme.
The naval version of TEJAS light combat aircraft is in development stage. However we can always produce just a half dozen or a dozen more of this Naval Variant. Even though lightly armed they can still provide an air defence bubble of 300km radius to the Carrier Battle group. Though the main task for the aircraft will be to train pilots on this aircraft to perfection and at the same time log in thousands of flying hours. This will provide immense data to our ADA , CEMILAC and HAL to ensure that Naval Tejas Mk2 with capabilities matching naval Rafael is in service before the laying of the keel or at least launch of INS VISHAL.
The Indian Air Force has already inducted a batch of TEJAS Mk1 and this year will start inducting the second squadron. In two years or so should start getting the Tejas Mk1A followed by Tejas Mk2 aircraft.