Striking off another entry from its to-do list, India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas refuelled mid-air from an Indian Air Force tanker aircraft for the first time on Tuesday (4 September).
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 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.
According to NDTV, nine further tests, including ‘wet’ ones, will be conducted to validate the 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.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.