SU-30 MKIs refuelling from IL-78 Midas Tanker.

India Considers Buying Russian IL-78 MRTT After Ending Six Year Old Airbus Deal


16:09 01.08.2016

High costs and pending inquiries against Airbus has forced India to abort a 2 billion dollar deal with Airbus. Sources say a contract for Russian Ilyusin-78 (IL-78) aircraft is likely to be signed by October of this year.

India has terminated the a 2 billion dollar contract for six multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft with Airbus Defense and Space. This comes as no surprise for observers as the deal was troubled by objections over its high costs. Many officials were also skeptical considering protracted inquiries against the European consortium in India dating back to the 1970’s.

India’s Ministry of Defense had shortlisted six Airbus A330 MRTT for the Indian Air Force following a RFP issued six years ago. According to highly placed sources, the Finance Ministry was of the opinion that the aircraft were too expensive and asked the Defense Ministry to look for cheaper options. A new RFP was released, following which the budget was increased to $2 billion and included lifecycle costs in the price arguing that the Airbus plane would work out cheaper in the long term over its Russian competitor if lifecycle costs were to be considered.

Meanwhile, a Member of Parliament wrote to the Defense Ministry against the deal, as a result of which the case was sent to the Law Ministry for an opinion. In April 2015, the Government referred the deal to the Defense Ministry’s Vigilance Department for clearance after ascertaining the status of the old cases against the consortium. However, it was found that only one such case against the consortium had been closed due to lack of evidence and that the other inquiries were pending.

This is the second MRTT aircraft global tender to be cancelled by the Ministry of Defense since 2006.

According to sources, India is now considering procurement of the four-engine Russian Ilyusin-78 aircraft which was rejected in favor of the two-engine Airbus-330 MRTT. Highly placed sources said the Ministry of Defense is likely to sign a contract with the Russian company by the end of October this year, under which upgrades of already operating IL-78MKI will be included as well.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) already operates several Il-78MKI tankers delivered in 2003-2006. Sources said that six IL-78MKI will be upgraded to the IL-78MKI-90 MRTT standard while another IL-76MD transport aircraft will be converted into an IL-78MKI-90. The Ministry of Defense also wants to upgrade IL-76MDs to the IL-76MD-90 standard, which is likely to be part of the yet to be signed contract.

Original post


India planning direct purchase of six refueling jets


“As was earlier reported by TOI, the two-engine A-330 MRTT was twice selected over the four-engine Russian IL-78 in technical and commercial evaluation over the last decade. But there were “concerns” over the life cycle cost (LCC) methodology used in selecting A-330 MRTT over the IL-78. The LCC basically identifies “total cost of ownership” of an aircraft or other equipment through its entire operational life of 25-30 years. “With oil prices drastically dropping, Russia was contesting the LCC model used to select A-330 MRTT over the IL-78 (guzzles more fuel with four engines but cheaper off-theshelf). There were finance ministry’s objections and other problems,” said a source.”

The Economic Times

Read full article: Here



IL-78 is designed on the basis of Il-76MD is intended for refueling in flight distance and frontline aircraft day and night in clear weather conditions in order to increase their range. IL-78 can be used to transport fuel to the airfield maneuver and refueling of aircraft on the ground.

The cargo cabin two fuel tanks installed. Using three ORM consoles installed under the wing and fuselage tail section is provided as the fuel transfer tanks from the fuselage and from the tanks in the wing box.

If necessary, the aircraft under operating conditions can be converted into a transport for the transportation of personnel, equipment and cargo, transfer of patients.



another figure

Main Specifications

Geometric characteristics
Length m 46.6
Height, m 14.76
Wingspan, m 50.5
Wing area (trapezoid), m² 300
The diameter of the fuselage, m 4.8
The characteristics of the power plant
Number x Motor type 4hTRDD
Engine D-30KP Ser. 2
Maximum thrust (ISA, H = 0), kgf 12000
Mass Properties
Maximum take-off weight, t 190
The capacity of the fuel tanks, l 109 500 Wing
36 000 fuselage tanks
The transferred fuel (take off from the runway)
Frontier refueling 1000 km, ie, 69.2
Frontier refueling 2000 km, ie, 50
Frontier refueling 3500 km, 20.7
Aircraft performance
Cruising speed, km / h 750 (440-600 during refueling)
Maximum flight height, m 12100
Takeoff run, m 1700
The path length, m 930
Number of places
Crew. 6
Specified life
Calendar, years 35
Number of flights 6000
The number of flight hours, hours 8000


Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A (IL-476): Details

A330-200 (MRTT): Details


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