India’s HAL Conducts Hot Refueling Trials of Indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft

Indian defence aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully carried out a hot refueling of the indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA), Tejas, followed by a sortie at HAL airport in Bangalore on Feb. 26.

HAL said in a statement that the system performance during the refueling session was in-line with design requirements and was satisfactory. It added that the aircraft is now inching close to its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) with the Indian Air Force (IAF).

LCA also became the first IAF aircraft to fly with this unique capability of hot refueling and HAL has successfully demonstrated this on the LCA Tejas LSP8 (Limited Series Production 8) aircraft.

Hot Refueling is a single point pressure refueling of the aircraft with the engine in operation. It is a process by which a fighter aircraft is refueled (in between sorties) while its engine is in operation, thereby cutting down the refueling time by half and turn-around time significantly. This capability is highly desired in combat situation which basically puts aside the need for the pilot to park the aircraft, power down and exit the cockpit for refueling operations.

With this development, HAL has also demonstrated a major requirement of LCA Mk IA, the advanced version of Tejas requested by the Air Force and in development.

HAL Tejas

HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and the Navy.

The aircraft has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration, which provides for high maneuverability. It came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. In 2003, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”, which means “Radiant” in Sanskrit.

Tejas has a pure double delta wing configuration (wing root leading edge sweep 50°, outer wing leading edge sweep 62.5° and trailing edge forward sweep 4°), with no tailplanes or canard, and a single dorsal fin. It integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire flight control system, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system, composite material structures, and a flat rated engine. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.

The Tejas is the second supersonic fighter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) after the HAL HF-24 Marut.

The first Tejas IAF unit, No. 45 Squadron IAF Flying Daggers was formed on 1 July 2016 with two aircraft. Initially being stationed at Bangalore, the first squadron will be placed at its home base at Sulur, Tamil Nadu.

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