Ha finalmente volato la versione navale di questo prodotto "indigeno":
[The debut flight of the Indian navy's first indigenous aircraft carrier-borne fighter may have finally come and gone relatively smoothly, but the program itself seems to be facing more turbulence.
Sixteen months after it was supposed to make its first flight, the prototype of India's first fighter for carrier-deck operations, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Navy, finally took off April 27 from Bengaluru. The 22-min. flight, conducted by two senior test pilots, was officially deemed a success. But relief over the beleaguered prototype finally lifting off will be fleeting. LCA-N Mk.1, ironically, may never actually see service on a carrier deck.
Ma con l'attuale propulsore F-404 risulta sottopotenziato
In February, the defense ministry's acquisition office approved the manufacture of eight limited-series LCA-N airframes, but the navy has all-but-officially decided to fly the Mk.1 only from land. The proposed Mk.2, which is set to have the more powerful F414 engine and is still at least two years away from even prototyping, is likely to be a variant that the navy buys in larger numbers and flies off its future short-takeoff-but-arrested-recovery (Stobar) carriers.
Apart from being underpowered (it flies on a single F404 engine) and therefore unsuitable for Stobar operations, according to navy officials, the Mk.1 has also emerged heavier than the service wanted. Worse still, the fundamental structural hurdles that had delayed the program for so long have not been fully resolved. These include the modified, strengthened landing gear, certain airframe modifications and optimal sink-rate parameters, all of which are being addressed with EADS. With the first flight done, the program team intends to bolster efforts to get the aircraft to meet navy specifications, which the prototype does not.
E sembra che la seconda portaerei indiana sarà dotata di catapulte e non di ski jump, il che aprirebbe le porte a un altra competizione per un caccia navale:
http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Ar ... 92.xml&p=2
The navy's future fighter requirement will be shaped by the launch mechanism on its second indigenous aircraft carrier. Top navy sources suggest that the service is nearly convinced that a catapult-assisted takeoff, barrier-arrested recovery (Catobar) carrier is the way to go.
Executives with Eurofighter and Gripen, both of which have Stobar concept variants of Typhoon and Gripen fighters, respectively, said that while their fighters theoretically could be modified for catapult launch, the costs involved compared with a potential order would not justify the effort. Should the navy decide to develop its second indigenous flattop as a Catobar carrier, a three-way battle could ensue between the Lockheed Martin F-35C, Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale.