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India to buy refuelling planes from Russia

Izvestia Daily, a long-running newspaper in Russia has reported that the country is in negotiations with India over a deal of nearly $2 Billion involving the sale of 6 Ilyushin transport aircraft to the country, quoting that New Delhi wants to purchase the mid-air refueling aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

This step by India comes in the face of the recent cancellation of last year’s deal signed with Airbus for the purchase of 6 multi-role tanker transport planes. The deal with Airbus was cancelled last week due to their unreasonably high cost.

Capable of refueling 3 jets simultaneously from the rear, with a toal fuel capacity of 110 tonnes of fuel, the tanker aircraft is one state-of-the-art machine.

The tanker aircraft can carry up to 110 tons of fuel and refuel a jet from the rear and from its wings. Three aircraft may be refueled in the air simultaneously.

Reported by Russia Today, the Su-30 fighter jets specially developed for India by Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau could well be enhanced with the inclusion of Ilyushin aircrafts to the fleet. “For the first time Russia has offered New Delhi its IL-78MD-90A, which is a modernized version of the Il-76MD-90A military transport, also known as the IL-476,” said an unnamed official.

Should the negotiations succeed, this will be the first deal to supply the Il-78MD-90A, a modernized version of an IL-76 transporter with modified wings, new engines and control system, a higher load capacity and volume of transported fuel. The modular air fuel system allows the tanker to be easily converted into a conventional transport aircraft.