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India’s need for multirole tankers grows more urgent

14th April 2022 - 06:38 GMT | by Neelam Mathews in Delhi

RSS

Israeli company IAI has announced a tie-up with HAL to offer converted passenger jets for India’s air-to-air tanker requirement. (IAI)

India is about to reignite a smouldering quest for new air-to-air tankers, and domestic industry wants a slice of the action.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) plan to buy 12 multi-mission air-to-air tankers, with RfPs previously released in 2006 and 2011, is being reinitiated this year with speed.

The paucity of spares following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is impacting the IAF’s six Il-78MKI tankers, with groundings gravely inhibiting their ability to refuel Indian fighters. Indeed, engine upgrades to ensure the Il-76s can fly with a full fuel load from 9,000ft runways have been deferred, creating further constraints.

An acceptance of necessity for new tankers is expected in the next six months. This RfP will be for six tankers, with an

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