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Indian LCA Tejas successfully completes Mid-Air Refueling trial

India on Monday joined the elite group of countries who have developed the air-to-air refueling (AAR) system for military aircraft when a warplane at a height of 20,000 feet was successfully refueled mid-air. According to sources, the light combat aircraft (LCA) - Tejas LSP8 completed the "wet (actual) engagement" transferring 1,900 kg fuel from Indian Air Force's IL78 mid-air refueling tanker.

Indian LCA Tejas successfully completes Mid Air Refueling trial 001 Indian Air Force LCA Tejas being refueled by an Il-78 Midas tanker
(Credit: Indian Air Force)

The refueling was carried out at an altitude of 20,000 feet.

The aircraft was at a speed of 270 knots at the time of refueling, and all the internal tanks and drop tanks were refueled, said Indian government sources.

A few days ago (on Sept. 4 and 6) the successful dry docking of aerial refueling probe with mother tanker was carried out.

Piloted by Wing Commander Siddarth Singh of the National Flight Test Center (NFTC), this significant milestone was achieved at 09:30 with designers from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) closely monitoring the system parameters from the ground station at Gwalior in central state of Madhya Pradesh.

The performance of aircraft systems, mainly fuel and flight controls systems during the trial was in line with the design requirements and was closely matched with the results of extensive ground tests of air-to-air refueling system, said the sources.

The HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy. The aircraft has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration, which gives it high maneuverablility. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India's ageing MiG-21 fighters. LCA was officially named "Tejas" in 2003, meaning "Radiant" in Sanskrit by the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee.