In a huge achievement for India’s defence artillery, the Indian Air Force Tejas fighter jet has successfully completed mid-air refuelling trial for the first time in India. The Indian forces have now joined the elite group of countries having air-to-air refuelling system for military planes.

Following up the in air “dry contact” with Indian Air Force’s (IAF) IL-78 mid-air tanker aircraft recently, the Indian Air Force’s made-in-India Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas completed its first mid-air refuelling trial successfully, for the first time in India. The mid-air fuelling trial for the Tejas Limited Series Production aircraft number eight (Tejas LSP-8) was held on Monday. The Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) reported that the aircraft “successfully completed the Wet (actual) engagement by transferring 1,900 kg fuel from IL-78 mid-air refuelling tanker” at an altitude of 20,000 feet 9:30 AM, yesterday.

With the new feat, India has now joined the elite club of only a handful of countries like US, Russia, China and others who hold military abilities to conduct mid-air refuelling of warships. The refuelling capability increases the endurance of maximum flight length and adds a lethal punch by increasing the aircrafts’ range. Tejas is now turning out to be the benchmark aircraft of the Indian Air Force but there are still a number of developments that it has to achieve to become a multi-tasking component and the best fighter jet of the country.

Currently the IAF has nine Tejas jets at the No. 45 Squadron, the Flying Daggers, based at Sulur Air Force Station in Tamil Nadu, but the jets need much maintenance. The engineers at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) are currently working on making Tejas a low and easy maintenance jet. Tejas is also likely to get low-speed recovery feature that will enable the jet to automatically increase thrust to the engine in the event that the fighter is flown at close to the speed at which it can stall mid-air.