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Egyptian fighters demonstrate buddy refuelling capabilities

Posted 16 July 2020 · Add Comment

Egyptian Air Force Dassault Rafale and MIG-29M/M2 fighter aircraft conducted buddy-buddy aerial refuelling during the recent Qader-2020 military exercise.

The Egyptian Ministry of Defence said that Qader-2020 was intended to demonstrate its armed forces’ capabilities, and to send a “tough message to Turkey”, discouraging any intervention.
Turkey supports the UN-recognised government based in Tripoli and led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, while Egypt backs the rival Tobruk-based House of Representatives government led by Khalifa Haftar.
Until the exercise, the Egyptian Air Force was not thought to operate any air-to-air refuelling (AAR) tankers, limiting its ability to operate at extended range, and especially beyond Egypt’s own borders. Some of its aircraft, including the Dassault Mirage 2000EM, and the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D, did regularly practise AAR with allied tanker aircraft, and Egypt’s new Rafales were filmed buddy refuelling from French Rafales during the Franco-Egyptian Ramses 2016 exercise.
An official Egyptian Ministry of Defence video of the more recent Qader-2020 exercise showed pairs of Rafales and pairs of MiG-29Ms buddy refuelling, and also showed Rafales refuelling from the MiG-29.
The Egyptian MiG-29s appear to have been supplied with a number of Zvezda PAZ-МК refuelling pods. Originally developed for use by the carrier-borne MiG-29K/KUB, the PAZ-MK allows the transfer of fuel from the tanker aircraft’s own fuel system, including both internal and external tanks, whereas earlier Russian buddy refuelling pods for tactical aircraft consisted of a hose drum unit with an integral fuel tank.
The PAZ-MK was developed from the UPAZ and UPAZ-1 aerial-refuelling systems used respectively on the Su-24M as a buddy refuelling store and on the Ilyushin Il-78 ‘Midas’ tanker.
The PAZ-MK trails an 18.5 metre hose with an inner diameter of 52mm and can transfer fuel at rates of up to 750 litres per minute. It is equipped with a modernised hose response system, and a digital control system.
The centreline buddy refuelling store carried by the Rafale was not clearly shown in the video, but is probably the same unit as is used by the Armée de l’Air.

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