India has achieved yet another major achievement as it carried out a successful debut Engine Ground Run of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) prototype NP1 for the Indian Navy. The naval LCA prototype NP1 is India’s first homemade naval fighter aircraft which will incorporate considerable technology and will be used from an aircraft carrier.
The debut Engine Ground Run (EGR) of LCA NP1 aircraft was successfully carried out with the main aim of checking aircraft to engine integration and activation of the various systems like flight control, hydraulics, fuel, electrical and avionics. The LCA NP 1 aircraft will now go through a phase of refinements based on feedback identified during the course of the buildup and also observed during the Engine Ground Run. After the changes, a series of final integration checks and taxi trials will occur before its maiden flight shortly.
The LCA NP1 project consists of members of the Indian Armed Forces, state-run HAL, DRDO, and Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) as well other institutions and public and private sector partners. Following this Engine Ground Run, there will be a taxi run of the aircraft after which the naval LCA will be ready for flight trials by the end of this year or early 2012.
In July 2010, the state-owned Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) had launched the naval variant of the indigenous LCA NP1 in Bangalore. The authorities had also said that LCA NP 2 will be rolled out in 2011 which will be single seat naval fighter. The main aim of LCA NP1 and its Fighter counterpart LCA NP 2 was to become a suitable replacement to the ageing fleet of Sea Harriers with a higher thrust engine and optimized mass. The naval version of the LCA will be deployed on board the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) by 2015. It is the only carrier borne aircraft in the light category.
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