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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to initiate a transformative process by procuring six pre-owned aircraft that will be subsequently converted into aerial tankers. The upcoming tender will be floated within the next six months as per media reports.

HAL’s partnership with IAI, an Israeli company with expertise in aviation technology, will play a pivotal role in the certification and conversion process. Once acquired, the pre-owned aircraft will undergo comprehensive upgrades, receiving new avionics and engines to extend their operational lifespan by 25 to 30 years. With the addition of advanced avionics and engines aircraft will be equipped with military-grade state-of-the-art technology, ensuring the continued effectiveness of its aerial fleet.

HAL will collaborate with a local Indian private sector company specializing in maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services to further augment the process. The IAF also has decided to lease a flight refuelling aircraft for five years from the French Air Force, an Airbus A330MRTT, which is a short-term solution that demonstrates the immediate steps being taken to bolster its refuelling capabilities. With its existing fleet of six aerial refuelers and a requirement for an additional six units, the IAF’s focus on aerial refuelling is evident.

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