First landing of Tejas and MiG-29K fighters on INS Vikrant

NEW DELHI, INDIA — The Indian Navy announced yesterday, February 6, 2023, that the HAL Tejas prototype combat aircraft in the airborne version has carried out its first landings and take-offs from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. They were carried out during trials in the Arabian Sea.

First landing of Tejas and MiG-29K fighters on INS Vikrant
Photo credit: Indian Navy

The single-seater Tejas prototype, designated NP-2, landed on the carrier piloted by Commander Indian Naval Air Test Squadron [INAS 552], Commodore Shivnath Dahiya.

“The successful landing and take-off of the indigenous Tejas combat aircraft on the first all-Indian aircraft carrier is an important step forward towards our shared vision of AatmaNirbharBharat. The first landing of the MiG-29K also heralded the integration of the fighter with the INS Vikrant. I congratulate everyone who contributed to this,” said Chief of Naval Staff Adm. R. Hari Kumar.

At the same time, for the first time, pilots sitting on the baton of the MiG-29K performed air operations from the deck of this ship. Thus, the Indian Navy confirmed the interoperability of the two machines and the aircraft carrier. Earlier, two Tejas [a two-seater NP-1 was also built] conducted training flights using the ground center at Goa and the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

New Delhi is proud of the fact that both Tejasa and INS Vikrant were designed and built with the efforts of Indian companies. However, many components were supplied by foreign contractors. The trials of INS Vikrant will end in mid-2023 and, if they go according to plan, will mean that they will be ready for operations using onboard engines.

Interestingly, according to current plans, the airborne version of the Tejas will not be developed, and the MiG-29K/KUB will be the strength of the aircraft carrier groups. They are to be replaced by a multirole fighter chosen from two: the Dassault Rafale M and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It is unofficially known that the treaty will be signed with the French.

Ultimately, India’s aircraft carriers will be used as a base for the aircraft, code-named TEDBF [Twin Engine Deck Based Fighter], currently due to enter service by 2032.


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