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Monday, November 11, 2013

Sight To Behold - IAF Fighters Performing Buddy-Buddy Refuelling

Capability that enhances the versatility of the IAF's operations.

A higher-res version of a picture I had shared earlier. As seen the Air Forces' twin seat Mirage 2000TH is getting its fuel tanks replenished from a Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft.

click on the image to view it in larger size


In addition to the 7 Russian Il-78MKI the Indian Air Force [IAF] currently operates & 6 European Airbus A330 dedicated fuel tankers it proposes to acquire, this added ability of its fighter aircrafts would allow the IAF to carry out more missions that require aerial refuelling. Also a factor is their larger operational footprint, that would prevent it from being based at certain smaller IAF airbases. In such situations, conventional fighter aircrafts stepping up to perform the same role, be it with much diminished capacity, would act as a significant force-multiplier in IAF missions.

This screen-grab, below, taken from this video, demonstrates an interesting configuration. While the aircraft filling up its tanks is the IAF's upgraded MiG-29, the MiG-29UPG, the one acting as a refueller is the Naval variant of the aircraft, a Russian MiG-29K.

click on the image to view it in larger size


The Indian Navy too is an operator of this Naval aircraft, in fact the only one in the world presently, & would operate them out of the Vikramaditya &, possibly, IAC-1. Given that both Aircraft Carriers are built with ski-jumps for take-off, they impose severe limitations on the payload that the aircrafts can carry during mission. Thus, the ability to configure the MiG-29K as a tanker would allow another MG-29 K to take-off with minimal fuel load, instead stocking up on additional armament. Once airborne, it could rendezvous with its tanker variant, perform a buddy-refuelling, & then be on its way for its mission. A effective solution to reduce the shortcomings arising out of the Carrier's configuration.


Also Read: An IAF Jaguar Kitted To Deliver PWNAGE! [Image Of The Day]