The Indian Air Force's (IAF) entire range of combat aircraft and helicopters will soon receive an operational boost with new mid-air refuelling capability, the IAF vice chief and air marshal DC Kumaria has revealed.
Speaking at the fifth annual National Seminar on Aerospace Technologies (N-SAT.5), the chief was quoted by Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) as saying that the capability will be provided for all existing assets.
The air marshal also added that the future aircraft acquisitions will be based on this key in-flight refuelling capability requirement, to enable the use of aircraft to cover long-range missions.
Currently Mirage 2000, Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and Jaguar aircraft with the service are already built with the midair refuelling ability, while the Mig 29 will receive it as part of its modernisation programme.
Commenting on the refuelling capability, defence analyst and retired air marshal Ashok Goel was quoted by the news service as saying that acquiring a new aircraft with the requirement costs less when compared with expenditure spent on removing it.
IAF is set to acquire C-130J Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, Embraer 145 for electronic radars, AW 101 helicopters, Rafale fighter jets, new Airbus Military MRTT or Russian IL 78 AWACS and midair refuellers, as well as Chinook and Apache helicopters, which are currently at different procurement levels.
The new capability requirement will also be included on combat platforms existing with the army and navy, as part of a tri-service agreement to install common parameters for similar systems.
The N-SAT series, conducted by India Strategic defence magazine, focuses on developing technological advancement for the Indian armed forces.