Defence News India: Indian Air Force Wednesday successfully carried out the first ever mid air refueling of the indigenously build fighter aircraft Tejas MK 1 with Russian built IL-78 MKI tanker.
The tanker was launched from its base in Agra while the fighter was launched from Gwalior.
The specially modified Tejas aircraft carried out a series of tests including a ‘dry contact’ with the tanker.
Air Force used another Tejas aircraft to observe the exercise from close quarters.
Air Force said: “The success of these trials is a major leap for the indigenous fighter, thus enhancing its mission capability by increasing its range and payload.”
All flight parameters of Tejas aircraft were transmitted live to a ground control unit set-up at Gwalior airbase, where ADA scientists constantly monitored the technical parameters of the mission.
“The ability to carry out air-to-air refueling is one of the critical requirements for the LCA to achieve Final Operational Clearance,” said Indian Air Force.
The Tejas aircraft was piloted by test pilot group captain Joshi and the IL-78 MKI was flown by group captain R Arvind, commanding officer of the tanker squadron.
Indian Air Force had conducted extensive ground trials in all possible conditions under the supervision of ADA scientists.