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India’s Tejas Clears In-Flight Refuelling Barrier

Indian Tejas aircraft has successfully demonstrated the ability of air to air refuelling MK aircraft with an Ilyushin Il-78MKI tanker.

Despite the recent milestone, the Aeronautical Development Agency's Tejas programme is still running behind schedule. As of 31 August, some 4,139 test flights had been completed since the single- engined type's debut in 2001.

Aircraft manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has so far delivered only nine Tejas Mk1s under a March 2006 order for 20 examples in an initial operational clearance standard.

HAL received a further contract in December 2010 to produce 20 FOC-standard aircraft, for delivery through 2016. However, the delayed receipt of operational clearance for the new variant means production has yet to begin.

The Indian air force also plans to acquire 83 Tejas in an enhanced Mk1A configuration.

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