Maiden flight of LCA Fighter, Naval Prototype 2
The Indian Naval Aviation, carrier-borne aircraft development programme LCA (Navy) got an adrenaline shot in the arm on February 7, 2015. The first LCA (Navy) Fighter, Naval Prototype (NP2) made its maiden flight from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Bengaluru airport. The flight was piloted by Captain Shivnath Dahiya, who is an experienced test pilot from the Indian Navy with the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). The launch was accomplished under telemetry control exercised by Test Director Commander J.D. Raturi and Safety Pilot Commodore J.A. Maolankar, the Chief Test Pilot of NFTC.
The chase aircraft cover was provided by LSP2 piloted by Group Captain Suneet Krishna (Retd) with the Test Director being Group Captain Prabhu and the Safety Pilot being Group Captain R.R. Tyagi. The event marks the growth of indigenous LCA (Navy) programme, aimed to achieve carrier compatibility technology demonstration including arrested landing and skiJump take-off, initially from the shore-based test facility, Goa.
It addresses several systemic deficiencies observed whilst making progress on flight test of Naval Prototype 1. It incorporates most avionic hardware components promised to the customer, Indian Navy. During design and build NP 2 has been customised (plug & play) to incrementally accept modifications for carrier landing aids like Levcon air data computer, auto-throttle, external and internal angle of attack lights. NP 2 is the lead aircraft for arrestor hook integration, Derby beyond visual range missile and tactical data link.