Sunday, June 01, 2014

Exclusive: When India's LCA-Navy Quietly Went Supersonic

Chanced upon these photos that I hadn't seen before -- not sure if any of you have. The first prototype of India's carrier-borne STOBAR fighter, the LCA Navy, quietly completed a supersonic flight in late March this year, with official word about the flight filtering out only the following month. It went supremely unreported. No surprise that the LCA-N team didn't want too much hoopla over the event. The NP1 prototype had flown just four sorties since its maiden flight in April 2012, and had been grounded for a major re-engineering of its landing gear (through a consultancy with Airbus Group) for nearly two years since. The team quietly worked towards the March flight in which the NP1 cruised at 1.1 Mach with an air force Tejas in chase. More details soon.

Photos / ADA

18 comments :

Anonymous said...

Lovely ! lCA is not instant coffee. Hope we will have production standard planes fly ths year.

Anonymous said...

Nice. but please post high resolution photos to view full dimensions instead of pony small resolution jpegs. IAF will not order LCA Mark I in full numbers as they are obsessed with foreign mall. what a pity. They pay millions form MKI for 60% of fleet down for maintenance but wont buy LCA MKII in huge numbers

Anonymous said...

Two years for a redesign of the landing gear? really?

Anonymous said...

Personally I do believe IAF as an institution does know which aircraft suits better for their different operational requirements. No point winging until such time that LCA is combat ready. If IAF doesnt go ahead with LCA then, then its a crime. Until then Kit-kat kao and wish LCA2 comes out soon.

Anonymous said...

it must have been a failure...otherwise drdo would have bragged about it.

Sadanandam said...

Bravo !!

All the best and do the very best to bring the beast to life asap..

Anonymous said...

NSR says ...
Put the gun in ASAP and start producing and fielding on a war footing...
These can be armed with Astraa BVRAAM 40 and 120 km missiles and Russian missiles...
These missiles will make it as good as many aircraft in Pakistan and China...
Pay money to GE to get full technology to manufacture from raw materials...
Upgrade them in blocks...keep building...
Do not buy Rafale at all as the whole bill is approaching 25 to 30 billions for 126 planes...
It would be insanity to pay that amount for Rafale when Chinese 5th generation and SU-35S can shoot down it so easily...
Build Indian aerospace and engineering infrastructure...

bablu prasad said...

Superb achievement.. icing on the cake would have been had we manage to get the indigenous engines which for carrier borne fighter..

Anonymous said...

Take a close look at the forewing on pic #3 ! Looks like the composite structure has been compromised and appears bent and tattered ! What in the hell is going on ????

Anonymous said...

wht r the reasson behind technical delays?
21 century is an era 5th generation fighters. despite of this programme on LCA lagging behind even after 20 years of technical designs
sir, clarify-how long time it take to complete MCA?
WAITING FOR THE ANSWER

aloysius roc said...

Oh God! if we could only replace that American engine.

Anonymous said...

What is going on in Pic 3? The front part of the wing looks like it was torn apart when it went supersonic!!!

Prodyut said...

Just wait a minute. I am sorry to spoil the party but did it go supersonic in level flight?

I raise this doubt because the last information was that the aircraft weight was about 1300 kilos over design weight at the time of the IOC 2. Also there were problems with the intake engine matching.The usual prompt "achievement" newsflash about the weight has perhaps missed my notice.

It would be damned difficult for any aeroplane to meet its designed performance if it had the problems mentioned above.

Has the weight been corrected?

Prodyut said...

If you are interested in a somewhat more detailed analysis you might want to look up blog spot profprodyutdas "The ails of the LCA" ( irrestible pun!)

Anonymous said...

Mr Das,

Typhoon's fuselage length is 15.96 meter. rafale's fuselage length is 15.27 meter. Applying the same analogy you applied for tejas vs gripen, Do you think IAF selected a lemon as MMRCA winner because rafale is aerodynamically blunt compared to its contemporary Typhhon?

ersakthivel said...

Mr Das,

Typhoon's fuselage length is 15.96 meter. rafale's fuselage length is 15.27 meter. Applying the same analogy you applied for tejas vs gripen, Do you think IAF selected a lemon as MMRCA winner because rafale is aerodynamically blunt compared to its contemporary Typhhon?

Balaji said...

Pic 3 shows the leading edge slats deployed and the nose box is not in tatters.
Supersonic flight was in level flight and not in a dive. In fact it was in a shallow climb Nd did it effortlessly

priyank said...

Other than the strengthened undercarriage and avionics, how does Naval LCA differ from LCA Trainer? I notice they look the same, with tandem seats