Tejas clears maiden mid-air refuelling trial

India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas (LSP8) on Monday passed its maiden mid-air refuelling trial. In its first Wet (actual) engagement, Tejas transferred 1900 kg fuel from Indian Air Force (IAF) IL78 mid-air refuelling tanker. The refuelling was carried out at an altitude of 20000 ft.

According to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the maker of Tejas, along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the aircraft speed was 270 knots and all the internal tanks and drop tanks were refuelled. The aircraft had earlier successfully carried dry docking of aerial refuelling probe with mother tanker on September 4 and 6.

"With this, India joins the elite group of countries who have developed the Air-to-Air (AAR) system for military class of aircraft," said R. Madhavan, CMD, HAL.

Piloted by Wg Cdr Siddarth Singh of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC), this significant milestone was achieved on Monday at 0930 hrs with designers from HAL and ADA closely monitoring the system parameters from the ground station at Gwalior. The performance of aircraft systems (mainly fuel and flight controls) during the trial were in-line with the design requirements and was closely matching with the results of extensive ground tests of air-to-air refuelling system.

Tejas is a single-seater, single-jet engine, multi role, lightweight tactical fighter aircraft jointly developed by HAL and ADA. In June this year, the Tejas programme achieved a rare distinction by completing 4000 Successful Test Flights. In April, LCA Tejas LSP-7 (KH-2017) successfully fired a Derby BVR missile from the western coast of the country while taking off from INS Hansa, Goa, as a final step towards certifying the BVR. This was a significant trial where the above specified missile will now have the full operational capability.

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