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PAF gets Il-78 air-to-air refuelling aircraft from Ukraine


PAF's Il-78 aircraft.

ISLAMABAD (PTI): The Pakistan Air Force has inducted the first of four Il-78 air-to-air refuelling aircraft ordered from Ukraine as part of its plans to enhance its operational capabilities.

A statement issued by PAF on Saturday said the country's first air-to-air refuelling aircraft “has arrived on an operational airbase while the delivery of remaining three (aircraft) is planned to be completed by mid-2010.”

The statement did not say when the aircraft had arrived or give further details.

Pakistan has ordered four Il-78 refuelling aircraft from Ukraine and the first jet had been undergoing tests in that country over the past few months.

The PAF's fleet of Mirage combat aircraft is currently capable of being refuelled in mid-air and other aircraft will have to be modified for use with the air-to-air refuellers.

The statement said the “PAF's overall capability in terms of its effectiveness to defend the airspace of Pakistan would be significantly enhanced” through the capability to refuel combat jets in the air.

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