The mid-air refuelling of ‘wet contact’ trial for LCA Tejas MK-1 was successfully carried out on September 10, 2018 from an Indian Air Force base. The trial was a part of the Air-to-Air refuelling flight tests conducted by IAF.
It is a significant achievement and a major step towards Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas,
Before this ‘wet contact’ trial, the ‘dry contact trials’ were successfully conducted on September 04 & 06, 2018 where the Drogue (basket) extended from the IAF tanker aircraft by a fuel hose, was tracked and plugged into using the aircraft refuelling probe without taking fuel. IAF provided all required support to DRDO including the tanker aircraft for the successful test flight.
Importance:The Air-to-Air refuelling capability for LCA is a ‘force multiplier’ for the IAF, giving the aircraft the potential to stay airborne for much longer periods of time.
The enhanced range and endurance in air is expected to provide IAF a host of options in exploiting the operational potential of the LCA as well as to participate in international exercises without having to stage through several locations enroute.
Tejas: Tejas is the first advance Fly-by-wire (FBW) fighter aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in India.
Conceived as a MiG-21 replacement, the aircraft has been designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
It is to the credit of its designers, manufacturer, technicians and test crew, that LCA has flown more than 3000 sorties / 2000 Hrs till date without any accident.
Tejas is a 4th Plus generation aircraft with a glass cockpit and is equipped with state of the art Satellite aided Inertial Navigation System. It has a digital computer based attack system and an autopilot. It can fire Air to Air Missiles, Bombs as well as Precision Guided Munitions.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 version and a request for proposal was issued to HAL by the IAF in December for procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of around 50,000 crore rupees.
The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) “Tejas” was inducted into No. 45 Squadron of Indian Air Force (IAF) on 01 Jul 2016. No. 45 Squadron, also called the “Flying Daggers”