India Conducts First Air-to-Air Refueling of Home-Grown Fighter Jet Tejas

Asia & Pacific

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has committed to purchase 324 Tejas, which means most of the shortfall will be fulfilled by the homegrown fighter jet. The jet is already integrated with Derby beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles, while it will eventually boast advanced electronic warfare systems and the Russian-built GSh-23 autocannon.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully carried out its first air-to-air refueling of the domestically built fighter aircraft Tejas MK1 with an IL-78 MKI tanker. The successful refueling test is being considered a big leap in the developmental stage and brightens the chances of the fighter jets getting an operational clearance certificate sooner. 

“The success of these trials is a major leap for the indigenous fighter, thus enhancing its mission capability by increasing its range and payload. The ability to carry out air-to-air refueling is one of the critical requirements for the LCA to achieve ‘Final Operational Clearance,'” an Indian Defense Ministry statement reads. 

The tanker was launched from a base in Agra while the fighter was launched from the Gwalior base in central India. 

The IAF has carried out several tests on specially modified Tejas aircraft including “dry contact” with the tanker that means that no fuel was actually exchanged between the Il-78 tanker and the Tejas fighter through its air-to-air refueling probe. In the coming days, it will…

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