The Pakistani Air Force (PAF) has received the first IL-78 Midas air-to-air refueller aircraft from Ukraine to enhance the air force’s strength in the airspace.

An aerial refuelling variant of the IL-76 strategic transport aircraft, the IL-78 Midas uses the hose-and-drogue refuelling technique.

Equipped with a point air-to-air probe and drogue, the IL-78 Midas aircraft is capable of delivering fuel at a rate of 900l to 2,200l a minute.

The IL-78 Midas is fitted with three Severin / UPAZ PAE external refuelling units, one under each wing and one mounted on the port side of the rear fuselage.

Under a contract, including an option of additional third-country equipment, Ukraine will deliver four aircraft with Russian-designed UPAZ refuelling pods to the PAF.

The PAF will receive the remaining three IL-78 Midas aircraft by mid 2010.