The first flight of the naval version of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is expected to take place by May this year.
The Naval Prototype-1 (NPT1), which was rolled out last year, is undergoing integration tests in Bangalore.
Cmde (Retd) CD Balaji, project director LCA Navy, said integration tests are on and the aircraft is currently suspended on bungee cords for undergoing a series of tests.
Following this, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the nodal agency for the design and development of the LCA programme, is expected to start the aircraft engine for testing.
A series of ground tests followed by taxi trails will precede the first flight which is expected in May.
As part of the Aircraft Carrier Capability Testing (CCT), ADA will also have to carry trails at the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) which is currently being built at the Naval Air Station in Goa.
The SBTF replicates an aircraft carrier having Restraining gear and Ski-jump for take-off. The landing area will have arresting gear and other landing aids as in an aircraft carrier. Once proved ashore, the aircraft will be cleared for trials on the carrier.
Meanwhile, as part of the Phase-2 of the LCA Navy programme, a single seat fighter (NP2) with a new higher thrust engine (GE-F141-INS6) and further design optimisation is on cards.
The NP2 structural build is at an advanced stage of completion and is due to fly a year after NP-1.
The LCA’s naval variant is to be ready for carrier trials by 2013 and is slated for deployment on the INS Vikramaditya as well as the Vikrant class aircraft carrier.