IAF to buy six French A-330 Airbus refullers

New Delhi, 08 December: Last month, the Indian Navy has leased two C-Guardian ‘Unarmed’ drones from an American company for intelligence, surveillance and testing. Now after this, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is preparing to lease six air to air refuelers from France.

The French government has proposed leasing six Airbus-330 multi-role transport tanker aircraft from five to seven years old with a 30-year guarantee.

The government is serious about this deal because it is very cheap compared to other offers.

France has offered to sell six Airbus 330 jets in its deal, which are about five to seven years old. These jets will come with a 30-year platform life guarantee, which will be important for expanding the strike range of the IAF and Indian Navy jets. The Airbus-330 is capable of refueling two fighter jets simultaneously due to the refueling boom system. This multi-role aircraft can also be used to carry 260 passengers and can also serve as an air-ambulance. Being equipped with powerful engines, Airbus-330 is also able to fly easily in high altitude areas like Leh and Ladakh.

Indeed, the IAF currently has seven Russian IL-76M refuellers to meet its mid-air refueling needs. Therefore, the Air Force has been in dire need of air to air refuelers for a long time but due to lack of budget, this requirement is not being met. One refueler per squadron and one awax per squadron are required.

According to the current 30 squadrons of the Air Force, 33 air to air refuelers and 33 AWACs are required. Apart from the US, no country has the financial capacity to turn it into a reality.

The need for air-to-air refuellers has been felt since the arrival of fighter jet Rafael from France as they have mid-air refueling facilities. Rafael fighter jets were fueled in mid-air over the Mediterranean Sea with the help of Airbus A-330 multirole tanker aircraft of the French Air Force while coming to India from France.

The Indian Navy wants to lease Naval Utility Helicopter and Mine Counter Measure Vessels after leasing two C-Guardian ‘Unarmed’ drones from the US Company last month for intelligence, surveillance and testing.

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