Dassault Rafale can now reach Indian territory in less than 10 hours.
7000 km in 10 hours
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is preparing to receive a new batch of eight Dassault Rafale fighters by mid-April for the "17 Golden Arrows". For this, it has just signed a partnership agreement with the UAEAF (United Arab Emirates Air Force), which will be responsible for refueling the new Indian Rafale. Indeed, during the first deliveries of the Dassault Aviation fighter, the UAEAF provided support to the United Arab Emirates with a KC-135RG tanker. But the Indian military judged the refueling time too long, and the Rafale's cruising speed too slow. The UAEAF then undertook to supply its new A330 MRTTs to cover the 7,000 kilometers separating India and France. This action, if it materializes, will allow the Rafale to make their flight in one go without having to land on an Emirati base, which will be a feat for the IAF with a flight time of 10 hours.
IAF is looking for tankers
The IAF currently has 6 Russian IL-76MKIs equipped by Israel. But these aircraft are showing signs of fatigue and maintenance problems that often prevent pilots from maintaining their in-flight refueling qualification. So the IAF is looking for 6 other tankers to complete its forces. In this market, which has been open for the past ten years, and despite some serious progress, no manufacturer has yet managed to establish itself. Airbus hopes to sell its A330 MRTT after this success. Boeing's KC-46A "Pegasus" is also in the running, but repeated problems are working against it. IAI is proposing a new modernization of the IL-76MKI, but also its version of the KC-767, which already equips the Italian Air Force. The Russians from UAC, manufacturer of the IL-76 "Midas", are discreetly proposing a new version, the IL-76MD-90A, which would be converted into a tanker. The next few months will tell us whether the IAF will have to be patient or not.
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