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Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), India’s premier aeronautical agency, is aiming for greater self-reliance in the Tejas MkII program. Their latest initiative involves collaborating with Indian private sector companies to develop a crucial component – a retractable inflight refueling probe.

The current Tejas Mk1A variant relies on a fixed inflight refueling probe supplied by Cobham Limited, a British aerospace company. HAL aims to reduce its dependence on foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for crucial Tejas MkII components. A domestically developed refueling probe is a significant step in this direction.

When not in use, a retractable probe minimizes drag, improving the aircraft’s overall fuel efficiency and performance. A retracted probe offers better protection from potential damage when the aircraft is not refueling.

The development of this indigenous refueling probe isn’t limited to the Tejas MkII. HAL plans to integrate this technology into its ambitious 5th-generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program. This move signifies a focus on creating a standardized, domestic solution for future Indian fighter jets.

Developing a complex system like a refueling probe domestically presents challenges. HAL will need to ensure the collaborating companies possess the necessary technological expertise and infrastructure to meet project requirements.