The Indian Air Force (IAF) will decide on a new multi-role tanker transport by year-end. Bids for six aircraft from Airbus Military for the A330MRTT and from Ilyushin for the Il-78MK are now being compared, Airbus Military market development vice president Ian Elliott told AIN in Delhi this week. The new in-flight refuelers will augment the existing fleet of six Il-78s, which has been in service for over half a decade at Agra airbase.
Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.
Eyeing regional requirements, including here in Singapore, Airbus Military has brought an A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) to the show. It is one of 14 destined for the UK Royal Air Force’s future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) fleet. A total of 28 MRTTs have been ordered by four countries.
The French Air Force will sign a contract for between five and seven A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports in 2013, with quick deliveries foreseen, according to its commander General Jean-Paul Palomeros. Budget difficulties thwarted earlier French attempts to procure a new tanker.
While the A400M program enters a new phase of turbulence, with Germany looking to slash its purchase to 40 from 53 and France looking to renegotiate a maintenance deal, the flight-test campaign is forging ahead with the aim of getting the European airlifter delivered by the end of 2012.
British, French and U.S. aircraft began the action in mid-March, in a “coalition of the willing” named Operation Odyssey Dawn that was led by U.S. Africa Command. On March 31, NATO took command. Eleven other nations sent aircraft to join the campaign.
British commanders are counting the cost of a major and successful contribution to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector. The UK and France were the biggest contributors to the campaign, after the first week when U.S. forces provided an initial boost. British aircraft and helicopters flew more than 3,000 sorties, including more than 2,100 strike missions. They successfully attacked about 640 targets with more than 1,400 precision-guided munitions.
Bell Helicopter is exploring new markets and missions for its Bell-Boeing Osprey V-22 military tiltrotor.
Rockwell Collins has provided more details of the flight deck displays, mission systems backbone and other key systems that it is providing for the new Boeing KC-46A tanker.
The company has devoted 200 engineers to the program, many of them previously involved in the commercial avionics business of Rockwell Collins, Mike Jones, senior director of tanker/transport programs, told AIN.
Recent briefings in Brussels and London on Operation Unified Protector reveal that attack helicopters provided by France and the UK are now making key contributions to NATO-led operations over Libya, which has been extended until the end of September.