The Indian Air Force said that it has successfully carried out the first ever mid air refuelling of the indigenously developed Tejas light combat aircraft, a major milestone in its development cycle and shared the video of the aerial exercise on Twitter.
A Russian-built IL-78 MKI tanker transferred fuel to a Tejas MK I aircraft on Tuesday. "Glimpses of IAF's LCA first ever midair refueling with an IL-78 MKI tanker. A second Tejas aircraft flying in formation was used to record & observe the exercise closely," said the caption of the video shared by IAF. Watch the video below:
#MakingHistory : Glimpses of IAF's LCA first ever midair refueling with an IL-78 MKI tanker. A second Tejas aircraft flying in formation was used to record & observe the exercise closely. pic.twitter.com/TT6S1e60on
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) September 7, 2018
"The tanker was launched from IAF's base in Agra while the fighter was launched from Gwalior. The specially modified Tejas aircraft carried out a series of test profiles including a 'dry contact' with the tanker," the IAF said.
It said a second Tejas aircraft was deployed to observe the exercise closely.
The mid-air refueling of Tejas came three months after it successfully fired an air-to-air beyond visual (BVR) range missile.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 version and a request for proposal (RFP) was issued to HAL by the IAF in December for procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of around Rs 50,000 crore.
"All flight parameters of Tejas aircraft were transmitted live to a ground control unit set-up at Gwalior airbase, wherein ADA (Aeronautical Development Agency) scientists constantly monitored the technical parameters of the mission," it said.
Prior to the test flight, extensive ground trials were conducted in all possible conditions under the supervision of ADA scientists.
"The success of these trials is a major leap for the indigenous fighter.The ability to carry out air-to-air refuelling is one of the critical requirements for Tejas to achieve 'final operational clearance'," said the IAF. (With Agency Inputs)