Fri, Aug 08, 2003
LCA Goes Mach 1.08
The Press Trust of India reports that India's
home-grown light fighter, the Licht Combat Aircraft, or LCA, has
gone faster than sound.
Wing commander Vikram Singh was quoted as having said he could
tell he'd done it, without having to check any gauges, as he flew
the test run: "She flew absolutely beautifully. Even if you closed
my eyes, I could have felt it had gone supersonic," he said, after
his 10-second supersonic experience.
That half-hour flight marked India's entry into the exclusive
club of countries that have produced supersonic vehicles.
Mach 1.08 is just the start. The LCA is supposed to hit 1.8 Mach
when operational, in several years. It won't be operational soon
enough: India's ancient but potent MiG-21 fleet is continuing to
take a toll on taxpayers, as repair and maintenance costs mount --
and on pilots, as the clunky, nasty Mach 2.1 machines find a lot of
relatively low-time fighter pilots 'way behind them, often with sad
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