[zero size or time out]Saturday June 2, 10:23 PM
India's Light Combat Aircraft ends tests ahead of schedule
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BANGALORE (Reuters) - The prototype of a planned Indian Light Combat Aircraft, described as the world's smallest lightweight supersonic fighter, has successfully completed its first round of test flights, authorities said on Saturday.
"Though it was originally estimated to take 15 flights to complete the test plan, the task was completed in 11 flights," the Aeronautical Development Agency said in a statement.
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), long delayed by red tape, is expected to join India's defence forces in 2005 or 2006.
The LCA programme's mission is to design and develop a world- class fighter for the Indian Air Force to replace the ageing Russian-built MiG series of aircraft and to create the technology base within India to build such planes.
The aircraft had its first flight in January. Saturday's flight was the 12th flight of the aircraft, including a display at an international air show at Bangalore in February.
The prototype is called LCA TD1. The ADA said the demonstration of its sound design and the completion of the tests ahead of schedule boded well for the LCA project's future.
The test flights included 360-degree rolls and formation flying, officials said.
"Successful completion of the first block of test flights in less than five months compares very well with the best achieved anywhere in the world," the statement said. http://www.yahoo.com