Force Magazine

 Fuelling the Need
A330 MRTT will be a key force multiplier for the IAF

The induction of force multipliers into the Indian Air Force (IAF) over the next five years will see the service being able to fully deliver on its ability to use airpower to ‘Deter, Punish, Protect, Project and Peace Assist’ when required. Key to the ability to be able to ‘Project’ airpower ‘Peace Assist’ using transport aircraft (along with helicopters) will be the IAF’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Force multipliers by their definition provide a striking increase in the ability to deliver combat power, while at the same time requiring a reduced number of platforms to deliver that capability.

In addition to delivering fuel to airborne fighters, the A330 MRTT (which is based on the A330-200 airframe) retains its full passenger and cargo carrying capability. The cabins are fully configured to carry passengers, with the cargo area being free to accept loads. It can also be used as a pure transport aircraft, able to carry passengers (291 in the IAF’s case), cargo payload of up to 45 tonnes. It can also be quickly converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers in the Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) role. The A330 MRTT will provide the much needed fuel to extend the range or loiter time for fighter cover and high value assets such Airborne Warning & Control Systems (AWACS) and Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) platforms. At the same time it can also bring in troops and carry useful amounts of cargo, making it a force multiplier in the truest sense.


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