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TRAINING: IAF to lease A330MRTT for fueling Training

Posted 25 May 2021 · Add Comment

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to initially lease an Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft to help train the IAF personnel in mid-air refuelling.

The deal is likely to be through a government-to-government agreement.
The IAF had earlier issued a Request for Information (RFI) for procuring “six flight refuelled aircraft (FRAs) along with its associated equipment for the IAF to meet air to air refuelling requirements.”
According to an IAF official, training to operate mid-air refuelling is very essential since the force is looking at acquiring several refuellers for its future.
Currently, this requirement is being met by its IL-78s which have been facing maintenance issues, hampering the air to air refuelling capability. IAF has six Russian origin IL-78 M mid-air refuellers, first inducted in 2003,
India recently used the service of the air force tankers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) while flying in the newly acquired Rafale fighters from France. The A330 refuelers of France and UAE air force have been used to ferry as many as 17 Rafale omni-role fighters to India from Merignac-Bordeaux air base since July 2020.
Air to air refuelling is the process of transferring aviation fuel from a tanker aircraft to the receiving aircraft while on air, allowing the latter to remain airborne longer,. This process also allows a fighter jet to take off with complete combat payload and refuel immediately.
Airbus says as the new-generation tanker, the A330 MRTT is a perfect replacement for older aircraft under fleet replacement programmes. With 60 total aircraft sales as of March 2020, the A330 MRTT has been ordered by Australia (as launch customer), France, NATO, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the UK.
The A330 MRTT can carry up to 111 tonnes of fuel; this is the highest capacity of all tanker aircraft, even those with additional fuel tanks in the cargo deck. It has the capacity of offloading 50,000 kg of fuel to a broad range of receivers during a four-hour loitering mission at over 1,000 nm from its take-off point.

MRTT Set for refueling training role with Indian Air Force (Image Airbus)
 

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