We report coupled VCSEL arrays, emitting at 1.3μm wavelength, in which both the optical gain/loss and refractive index distributions were defined on different vertical layers. The arrays were electrically pumped through a patterned tunnel junction, whereas the array pixels were realized by intra-cavity patterning using sub-wavelength air gaps. Stable oscillations in coupled modes were evidenced for 2x2 array structures, from threshold current up to thermal roll-over, using spectrally resolved field pattern analysis