An Ex-PSU official warned that replacing the inflight refuelling probe on the LCA Tejas Mk1A with a replacement probe manufactured by a different vendor would necessitate costly internal redesign work on the aircraft in addition to structural changes.
In addition to finding a different supplier to create an IFR probe specifically for the LCA Tejas Mk1 aircraft, HAL also needs to undergo a number of recertification experiments. The air to air refuelling system will first undergo extensive ground testing, then a series of dry dockings of aerial refuelling probes and finally wet (real) engagement refuelling trials from a mid air refuelling tanker.
Finding a new vendor and doing the entire recertification trials from the ground up are expected to take close to two years and they can only be completed if the User Argentina is willing to wait for this capability to be activated after delivery. Since the order is only for 18 planes, these extra costs may need to be covered by HAL which may reduce the aircraft’s profit margin.
While the interior of the aircraft, including its piping and fuel pump was designed locally, the LCA Tejas MK1A will receive an inflight refuelling probe developed by British aerospace Cobham Limited. However changing the probe to meet the same specifications will not be possible due to the company’s independent intellectual property rights