The Indian Air Force (IAF) has successfully carried out mid air refuelling of the indigenously built fighter aircraft Tejas MK-1 with an IL-78 MKI tanker for the first time, the IAF said on Wednesday.
"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 refuelling is one of the critical requirements for the Light Combat Aircraft to achieve final operational clearance," the IAF said in a release.
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 test profiles including a 'Dry Contact' with the tanker.
A second Tejas aircraft flying in formation was used to observe the exercise closely.
"All flight parameters of Tejas aircraft were transmitted live to a ground control unit set-up at the Gwalior airbase, wherein Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) scientists constantly monitored the technical parameters of the mission.
"Prior to the test flight, extensive ground trials were conducted in all possible conditions under the supervision of ADA scientists," the IAF said.
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