NLCA Tejas makes its first landing, despite the lack of interest of the Indian Navy

On January 11, the Tejas-N made its first landing on the only Indian aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, before taking off again the next day. After 17 years of development, the NLCA (Naval Light Combat Aircraft) program has therefore finally demonstrated its ability to operate from an aircraft carrier equipped with a springboard and stop wires. Problem: The Indian Navy announced four years ago that it was no longer interested in the Tejas-N. As it stands, the NLCA is therefore nothing more than a technological demonstrator, and perfectly symbolizes the problems of the Indian aviation industry, which is desperately trying to follow the ambitions of the country's armed forces without succeeding in consolidate their knowledge.

Designed by the National Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the DRDO, and built by the public company HAL, the LCA Tejas is a light fighter that already equips the Indian Air Force in its land versions Mk1 (40 copies in progress delivery) and Mk1A (83 copies ordered). Moving 13 tonnes at full load, and powered by the same American F404 which also equips the Swedish Gripen, the Tejas is the smallest supersonic hunter in production. If it was designed to be simple to produce and economical to use, to replace the many Indian MiG-21s, its development was unfortunately particularly complex, the program having taken a dozen years behind schedule.

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The landing speed demonstrated on January 11 was 15 to 20 knots higher than Western standards, which is not surprising for the first tests of a delta wing aircraft.

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