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Pakistan Receiving IL-78 Refueling aircraft

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Russian IL-78(click to view larger) In December 2008, Defense News reported that 2 IL-78 “Midas” air refueling tankers were seen landing on Dec 2/08 at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan, painted in Pakistani Air Force livery. Pakistan reportedly signed a contract with the Ukraine for 4 aircraft with Russian-designed UPAZ refueling pods, with the possibility of additional third-country equipment. Full operation is expected by 2010. The IL-78 Midas is the aerial refueling variant of the IL-76 strategic transport; it is operated by Pakistan’s ally China, as well as its rival India. Standard IL-78s use hose-and-drogue refueling, however, which limits their usefulness to Pakistan. The PAF’s top-end F-16s possess USAF-standard dorsal refueling inlets, which require a refueling boom. The PAF’s MiG-19 derivative A-5 Fantan fighters have no aerial refueling capability at all, and neither do its F-7 Skybolts (Chinese MiG-21s). Refueling drogues are present on Pakistan’s old Mirage III/Vs, and on the Sino-Pakistani FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder lightweight fighters that may constitute the bulk of its future fleet. They will also be present on the Chengdu FC-20/J-10 fighters, which Pakistan is buying. On Dec 20/09, the excellent Pakistani newspaper DAWN reported that the first PAF IL-78 aircraft had arrived, with the […]

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