To boost IAF, Defence Ministry looking at French mid-air refuellers
New Delhi, Dec 07: A French proposal to acquire six Airbus 330 multi-role transport tanker aircraft on a government to government basis to expand the strike capabilities of the Indian Air Force and purchasing the latest mid-air refuellers is under consideration by the Ministry of Defence.
The Indian Air Force wanted to get an Airbus 33 MRTT on a wet lease from a British company. However, the proposal by France involves selling 5 to 7-year-old aircraft to the IAF with a certification of another 30 years of platform life. This would be done at a reduced price.
The Airbus aircraft can transport 260 personnel in cabin and fuel in the cargo. The MRTT can be turned into a tanker, transport or air ambulance or all three at the same time with a total crew of 3.
Currently, the IAF operates seven Russian IL-76 M refuels. China is operating three of the same Russian refuellers along with 10 vintage modified versions of the Russian bombers.