Indian Airforce is hoping that the process to procure six flight refueler aircraft (FRA) for the third time will be successful after two previous attempts have successfully wasted 7-8 years in the process if not then further bad news awaits says Industrial sources close to

IAF which operates Six Ilyushin’s Il-78 multi-role tanker aircrafts procured from 2003 for air to air refuelling as seen undesirable service availability of Il-78 fleet along with the poor supply of spares has severally affected India’s Strategic reach of its fighter jet fleet in the region.

Ideal and desired service availability of Il-78 fleet in IAF was benchmarked at 70% but throughout its operation life it has been averaging out to 50% which simply means barely half of the plans are available for any missions at any given time.

As informed to, It is all so set for further downward spiral for 2018-2020 after Il-78 in batches will be sent to Russia for major and long overhaul further affecting India’s Strategic reach.

Airbus developed A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) was twice declared a winner in the previously held tender process but both the times it hit a roadblock due to cost. This time IAF will seek a proposal from Boeing for the supply of KC-46 Pegasus which is cheaper than A330. IAF is also seeking a proposal from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) which specialises in converting used Transport Boeing B707-300 aircraft into multi-mission tanker/transport (MMTT) platforms to offer cheaper alternatives to prospective buyers.

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