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In past, Pakistan air force has lacked the capability to attack Indian air force airfields in Kolkata and Assam which were deep inside India, but with the introduction of the IL-78MP Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Indian air force will no long be able to hide its fighter jets and other assets in the Northeast of country as it was able to do in the past.

Pakistani air force has procured four Ilyushin Il-78P Midas Air-to-Air Refueler aircraft from Ukraine.Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) are fitted with a three-point drogue refueling system and the internal fuel tanks that were stocked up in Ukraine since the days of the USSR.

Ex-CAS of Pakistan air force, Air Chief Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed had said that the purchase of these four Il-78 air tankers represent a pilot project that was intended to introduce this new capability to PAF for the first time. He also said that "We will need to expand in due course when we have greater fiscal availability."


In an interview with the Jane’s Defense Weekly, PAF chief Air Chief Marshal Qamar Suleman said “This is an absolutely new capability we are getting, which we are inducting. We never had this capability in the Pakistan Air Force.”

Pakistan air force’s IL-78 Midas R09-001 aerial tanker took part in High Mark 2010.Remaining Il-78P Midas Air-to-Air Refueling aircrafts are likely to be delivered by 2010.

Pakistan aeronautical complex have upgraded PAF’s Mirage-III Rose-I with refueling kits is of South African origin. Pakistani air force is looking to upgrade 30 Mirage-III Rose-I with refueling probes. For now IL-78MP are being used to refuel the Mirage-III Rose-I but later on these aircrafts will also be used to refuel JF-17 Thunder and Fc-20 fighter jets.

Main purpose of purchase of the IL-78 tanker/transport aircraft is to support the PAF's future fleet of JF-17s of which PAF is looking to acquire more than 250.

JF-17 Thunder is also being flight tested with both fixed and retractable in-flight refueling probes. PAF will be able to refuel its JF-17 Thunder fighter aircrafts before the end of this year.JF-17 Thunder will carry C-802A Anti-Ship missile with range of 180 Km for maritime strike role to support Pakistan Navy.

IL-78 Midas mid-air refuellers will help Pakistan air force increase the range and endurance of its fighter aircrafts. This capability will also allow Pakistan to hit targets deep inside enemy territory by refueling the fighter aircrafts during flight.

PAF operates around 45 F-16A/B that are being upgraded to F-16AM/BM along with 18 new F-16C/D block 52+ that will be delivered by the end of this year. So far PAF is not shown any interest in new conformal air refuel tank system for F-16s to make them capable of talking fuel from IL-78 as its old F-16A/B can’t carry conformal fuel tanks. There are rumors that PAF might buy few old tankers capable of refueling F-16s.

For this purpose PAF is looking at different options which include possibility of purchasing surplus KC-135 Stratotankers from the united States or modifying some old Airbus A310s into A310 MRTTs with help of EADS.

Pakistani air force can use air-to-air refueling
  • To support an attack deep inside india on high value targets
  • It will allow short range aircraft to be able to strike at long distance
  • For the Long range maritime strike capability in Support of PN
  • For the high endurance for the airdefence missions especially with introduction of AEW&Cs
  • For allowing aircrafts to takeoff with extra payload and refule once in air
  • For helping the strike package on their way back if they are running low on fuel
  • For suport of overseas exercises

    Spokesperson of PAF has confirmed that IL-78MP is a tanker/transport version and not a pure tanker version of the Midas. This means that Il-78MP has two removable fuel tanks installed in the freight hold with each holding 18,230 l of fuel with total transferable fuel load of 85,720 kg.

    IL-78MP MRTT can be converted back to the transport role by the removal of the two fuel tanks from freight hold.

    These Multirole Tanker-Transporters aircrafts can be used by the PAF as required. This brings another extra capability for the PAF as their Payload capacity is much more than that of PAF’s C-130s.Payload capability of IL-78MP is second only to PAF’s Boeing 707s

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    1. WOW, pakistan have real fighther jet.In philippines we don't have a fighter jet.. Check this site top 10 http://paktop10.com/

      ReplyDelete
    2. Pakistan air force has & will lack the capability to attack Indian air force bases be it in Kolkatta,Assam which were deep inside India,or even Gwalior airbase. With their deployment of (MRTT) Indian air force will no long be able to hide its fighter jets and other assets in the Northeast of country as it was able to do in the past,is just a Myth in pakistan.

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    3. Yeah right, PAF Fighters will fly all the way from the border to Kolkata and attack HVT's, and our Interceptors, AWACS, Air Defense will just sit quitely and observe. PAF fighters would be shot as soon they cross the border. There will be atleast 2 Squadrons of Su-30MKI waiting to greet them, not to mention Mig-29UPG and Mig-21 Bison's.

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    4. what if the tanker is shot down ?

      ReplyDelete

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