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.
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.
- 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
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