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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India is set to conduct a Request for Information (RFI) interaction on the “Development of Air-to-Air Refueling Probe (Retractable)” on June 23rd, 2023. The event will take place virtually, allowing interested Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups to participate. Those interested can register through the provided link to receive an invitation to the event.

The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will be equipped with a retractable refueling probe, which will be mounted on the front fuselage of the aircraft between station 2 and station 3. This retractable refueling probe will consist of several components, including the Probe Nozzle, Weak link, Extension and retraction mechanism, Hydraulic Motor, Probe Light Integrated in the Probe tip, and Drogue light. The objective is to develop a retractable refueling system with a telescopic and actuated mechanism.

To explore the feasibility of this technology, DRDO has invited interested companies to submit a feasibility study. The study will allow participants to assess the technical viability, potential challenges, and overall feasibility of developing the retractable air-to-air refueling probe for the AMCA. This initiative presents an opportunity for MSMEs and startups to showcase their expertise and contribute to India’s defense research and development efforts.

Currently, the Tejas Mk1/A and Tejas Mk2 aircraft feature fixed Air-to-Air Refueling Probes developed by the UK-based company Cobham. However, with the development of a retractable refueling probe, the AMCA will further enhance its capabilities, allowing for mid-air refueling operations. This will significantly extend the aircraft’s range and operational flexibility, enabling it to conduct longer missions without the need to land for refueling.

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