Striking off another entry in its to-do list, India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas today refuelled mid-air from an Indian Air Force (IAF) tanker aircraft for the first time, Livefist has reported.
According to reports, test pilot Group Captain Rajeev Joshi of the National Flight Test Centre flew the sortie which has taken the aircraft a step closer to getting Final Operational Clearance and being combat ready.
During the sortie, Tejas performed a 'dry' link up with an Indian Air Force Il-78 tanker through its air-to-air refuelling probe. In a dry link-up, a test manoeuvre, there is no transfer of fuel from a tanker to a fighter jet.
According to NDTV, nine further tests, including ‘wet’ ones, will be conducted to validate this mid-air refuelling capability. In the wet test, fuel will be transferred to the aircraft through the refuelling probe.
In May, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited successfully carried out a “hot refuelling” procedure on the aircraft. This process involves refuelling of the aircraft with the engine in operation between sorties to cut the turn-around time.
Struggling to maintain adequate numbers, the IAF has started inducting Tejas with Initial Operating Clearance. It currently has nine Tejas jets in the Flying Daggers (No. 45) squadron, based at Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu.
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