Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas on Monday completed the first midair refueling trial, which is one of the things required for the aircraft to obtain the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) which has missed several deadlines already.
On September 4 and 6, the Tejas had made a dry contact with the IL-78 exhibiting the plane’s ability to dock the refueling probe.
On Monday, the Tejas Limited Series Production aircraft number eight (Tejas LSP-8) “successfully completed the Wet (actual) engagement by transferring 1,900 kg fuel from IL-78 midair refueling tanker.”
“The refueling was carried out at an altitude of 20,000 ft. The aircraft speed was 270 knots and all the internal tanks and drop tanks were refueled. A few days ago, the successful dry docking of aerial refueling probe with mother tanker was carried out on September 4 and 6, 2018,” HAL, the manufacturer of the fighter said in a statement.
Piloted by Wing Commander Siddharth Singh of the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC), the refueling took place at about 9.30am with designers from HAL and Aeronautical Development Agency — which designed and developed Tejas — closely monitoring the system parameters from the ground station at Gwalior.
“The performance of aircraft systems (mainly Fuel & Flight controls systems) during the trial were in line with the design requirements and closely matched with the results of extensive ground tests of air-to-air refueling system,” the statement read.
With this, India joins the elite group of countries who have developed the Air-to-Air (AAR) system for military class of aircraft, HAL’s new CMD R Madhavan said in his first statement to the media since taking charge earlier this month.