TEL AVIV (Jun. 16)
A prototype of the Lavi jet fighter plane was refueled in midair for the first time, Israel Aircraft Industries, manufacturers of the plane, reported Tuesday.
According to IAI, the second prototype of the Lavi was refueled from a Skyhawk tanker plane at 15,000 feet during a 90-minute test flight. The first prototype produced last year does not have air refueling capacity. IAI plans at least five prototypes, each designed for different types of testing.
The best features of all models will be consolidated in the plane eventually selected for the production line. But the future of the Lavi is in doubt because of excessive development and building costs. It has yet to receive a go-ahead from the government, which is considering alternative aircraft.