With India’s Tejas aircraft successfully completing its mid-air refuelling drill, the nation joins the elite club of countries, which can pass this process with flying colours.
The first ever mid-air refuelling of the indigenously developed lightweight combat craft Tejas was successfully carried out on Monday, Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd (HAL) informed.
The milestone was achieved at 9.30am once 1,900 kg of fuel was transferred from the mid-air refuelling tanker of IAF’s IL78 to the Tejas LSP8 at an altitude of 20,000 feet, said a release of HAL, which has developed the Lightweight Combat Aircraft (LCA).
The feat was achieved a day after the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully did a rehearsal of mid-air refuelling using the Russian-built IL-78 MKI tanker.
“The Lightweight Combat Aircraft (Tejas LSP8) has successfully completed the wet (actual) engagement this day by transferring 1,900 kg fuel from IAF IL78 mid-air refuelling tanker,” the release mentioned.
The IAF I-78, piloted by Wing Commander Siddarth Singh, accomplished the task with designers from HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) closely watching system parameters from the bottom station at Gwalior.
According to the HAL, the speed of Tejas was 270 knots when all the internal tanks and drop tanks were refuelled.
“With this, India joins an elite class of nations who have developed the air-to-air (AAR) (refuelling) system for military class of craft,” HAL Chairman and manager R Madhavan was quoted as saying in the release.
Successful ‘dry’ docking of aerial refuelling probe with the mother tanker was allotted on September 4 and 6, he said.
Furthermore, HAL officers stated that within the dry docking no fuel was transferred. The mid-air refuelling of Tejas came 3 months after it successful fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) missiles. The IAF had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 versions and the proposal was issued to HAL by the IAF in December for acquisition of another batch of 83 Tejas at a value of around Rs 500 billion.