India’s indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on Monday cleared a major milestone towards its Final Operational Clearance. The Indian Air Force on Monday carried out mid-air refuelling of ‘wet contact’ trial for LCA Tejas MK-1. A statement by the Ministry of Defence said that the trial was a part of the Air-to-Air refuelling flight tests conducted by the Indian Air Force.
The latest trial came after the Indian Air Force successfully conducted the dry contact trials, which means a trial with no actual transfer of fuel, using IAF’s Il-78 tanker on September 4 and September 6.
— DRDO (@DRDO_India) September 10, 2018
“Dry contact trials were successfully conducted on September 04 & 06, 2018 where the Drogue (basket) extended from the IAF tanker aircraft by a fuel hose, was tracked and plugged into using the aircraft refuelling probe without taking fuel. IAF provided all required support to DRDO including the tanker aircraft for the successful test flight,” read the statement released by the Defence Ministry.
The air-to-air refuelling capability for LCA is a ‘force multiplier’ for the IAF, giving the aircraft the potential to stay airborne for much longer periods of time.
“The enhanced range and endurance in air is expected to provide IAF a host of options in exploiting the operational potential of the LCA as well as to participate in international exercises without having to stage through several locations enroute,” read the statement.
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman complimented DRDO-ADA, IAF, HAL and other agencies involved in the mission.