First ever mid-air refuelling of light combat aircraft Tejas successfully carried out
Bengaluru, Sep 10 (PTI) The first ever mid-air refueling of the indigenously developed light combat aircraft Tejas was successfully carried out Monday, placing India in an elite group of countries having air-to-air refueling system for military planes, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) said.
The milestone was achieved at 9.30 am when 1,900 kg of fuel was transferred from the mid-air refueling tanker of IAF's IL78 to the Tejas LSP8 at an altitude of 20,000 feet, said a release from HAL, which has developed the light combat aircraft (LCA).
The feat was achieved days after the Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully did a dry run of mid-air refueling using the Russian-built IL-78 MKI tanker.
"The Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas LSP8) has successfully completed the wet (actual) engagement today by transferring 1,900 kg fuel from IAF IL78 mid-air refueling tanker," the release said.
The IAF IL78, piloted by Wg Cdr Siddarth Singh, accomplished the task with designers from HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) closely monitoring system parameters from the ground station at Gwalior.
According to the HAL, the speed of Tejas was 270 knots when all the internal tanks and drop tanks were refueled.
"With this, India joins an elite group of countries who have developed the Air-to-Air (AAR) (refueling) system for a military class of aircraft," HAL Chairman and Managing Director R Madhavan was quoted as saying in the release.
Successful 'dry' docking of aerial refueling probe with the mother tanker was carried out on September 4 and 6, he said. HAL officials said in the dry docking no fuel was transferred.
The mid-air refueling of Tejas came three months after it successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile.