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India marks first landing of naval light combat aircraft, MiG-29K, on INS Vikrant

India's naval LCA conducting its maiden landing on INS Vikrant . (Ministry of Defence, India)

India has marked another milestone in its effort to operationalise the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant with the first landings of a naval light combat aircraft (LCA) and MiG-29K fighter on the ship.

The milestone was achieved by the Indian Navy on 6 February as part of the vessel's aviation trials, the country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced in a media release on the same day.

Vikrant is India's first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier, and it was commissioned by the Indian Navy in September 2022. The vessel joins another aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which was inducted by the service in 2013.

Since December 2022, Vikrant has been undergoing various operations with rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft as part of air certification and flight integration processes, said the MoD in its release.

The naval LCA, which is also referred to in-country as the LCA (Navy), is a carrierborne variant of India's single-engine delta-winged Tejas multirole light fighter.

The airframe that landed on Vikrant is a prototype built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under the country's push for an indigenously developed seaborne fighter. The aircrafthas not been type-certified for deployment on the carriers.

The MiG-29K is a Russian-made carrierborne fighter aircraft that began service with the Indian Navy in 2012. The service acquired 37 single-seat MiG-29K and eight MiG-29KUB trainers between 2004 and 2010, but several airframes of the type have since been lost in accidents.


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