Key suppliers in the niche air-to-air refueling segment are quietly preparing for a hoped-for Indian tanker competition.
Boeing, IAI, and Airbus Defence & Space all say recognize the need India has for tanking capability at this year’s show.
Airbus’s A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) has twice been selected for New Delhi’s tanker requirement. Unfortunately, both times the deal has fallen through, leaving the Air Force to soldier on with its Ilyushin Il-78 Midas tankers.
The last deal, for six aircraft, was cancelled in mid-2016 when the request for proposals was withdrawn, apparently owing to concerns about costs.