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Il-78M Midas Ukraine

3Ukraine Transport
5 Algeria
1 Angola
1 Kulbakino
1 North American
4 residual
The former Soviet Union's only operational Il-78M regiment was based in Ukraine, which retained the aircraft after independence. Only a handful remained in Russian hands. Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) - or Air Refueling (AR) - is routinely carried out by the United States Air Force (USAF), US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Army, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. At least fourteen other land-based and ship-based air forces of NATO and other nations around the world also regularly engage in AAR during air campaigns and day-to-day operations to increase their operational capability. Such air forces include the UK Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the French Air Force, the German Air Force and the Italian Air Force, to name but a few. Many of the naval and army air arms of these and other nations (e.g. the UK Royal Navy) also use air-to-air refuelling to extend their operational capability.

Ukraine inherited a number of IL-78 tanker aircraft from the former Soviet Air Force. Deployed from 1984 to 1988, previously, they were part of the 409-Aviation regiment air tankers of the Air Force of the Soviet Union. This unit, which was disbanded shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was at the time equiped with twenty one IL-78 [IISS reported 18], representing about half of us aircraft of this type in the air force of the former Soviet Union.

In the beginning of the 1990s, after the removal of the special equipment and "demilitarization", they were given up by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for commercial airlines to BSL, UAS Busol V. and ATI, receiving the registration of civil aircraft. When the resources of the airframe and engine, as well as of long standing without proper maintenance of service and must be accompanied by someone of vision on the part of the developer, the restoration of their flight a year of productivity is possible only through "technical cannibalism".

Another Ilyushin Il-78, operated as a cargo plane of the State enterprise of the Ministry of defence of Ukraine under the "Ukrainian Aviation Transport Company" management and with registration number UR-UCI (former UR-76415, serial No. 61-10), crashed nearby the Eritrean capital of Asmara July 17, 1998. Two others belong to the UCA former IL-78, converted to freighters, UR-UCG (UR-76414) and UR-UCF (UR-76412), according to the order of the State Aviation Administration of Ukraine No. 559 of August 13, 2008 among a large numver of the aircraft are excluded from the public register of civil aircraft of Ukraine, due to the fact that within 24 months, not years, certificates were issued or permission to perform the flights.

In the 1998-1999 biennium, Ukraine exported five aircraft of this highly specialised type to units tanking OPCD-1 to Algeria where they are numbered 7T-WIL (former No. 76610) 7T-WIQ (76653) 7T-WIN (76690) 7T-7T-WIF and WIS.

At the end of 2005, another aircraft (No. 76759, serial No. 64-10) was sold to the United States company North American Tactical Aviation Inc. with Americans civilian registracion number N78GF. For some eye to data, it is used there to assess the feasibility of aviation potential in fire fighting duties. North American Tactical Aviation Inc., a privately held company in Newark, DE, was established by Gary R. Fears in 2005 and incorporated in Delaware. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $250,000 and employs a staff of approximately 2. Civilian companies such as Omega Air, North American Tactical Aviation and Evergreen, are already or are planning to offer air tanker support to supplement hard-pressed and (in some cases) ageing military tanker fleets.

North American Tactical Aviation Inc. (NATA) has the same Wilmington, Delaware, address as Air Support Systems LLC. Fears received venture capital from an international security firm operated by former high-ranking military officials. The records show that Trident Response Group of Dallas sank more than $2.5 million into Air Support Systems for the purchase of “future aircraft” on December 5, 2005. The Federal Aviation Administration issued Air Support Systems a certificate of registration for the IL-78 nine months later. Headlands Ltd., a front company in Gibraltar, has more than $1.1 million tied up in the IL-78,

Victor Miller, owner of Air 1 Flight Services of Sherman, Texas, filed suit against Air Support Systems LLC in June 2009, alleging that the company owed more than $70,000 in maintenance fees accrued during the two-and-a-half years the plane was mothballed at the North Texas Regional Airport. After the Ukrainian crew took off with the plane the next month, it was grounded in Michigan, as a result of a restraining order, before it could leave U.S. airspace. On October 23, a judge in Marquette County, Michigan, ruled in Miller’s favor and awarded him the plane as payment for the unpaid debt. To prevent the tanker from being taken, Fears countered by filing for Chapter 11 protection for Air Support Systems on October 28 in federal bankruptcy court in St. Louis.

On July 17, 2009, a nine-member Ukrainian crew hired by NATA boarded the IL-78 and took off from North Texas Regional Airport. The flight plan called for the craft to refuel at Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh, Wis., before leaving U.S. airspace and heading to Pakistan. Alerted to the plane’s departure, Miller filed a restraining order, and the plane was diverted to Sawyer International Airport, in Gwinn, Mich., where it has been stranded ever since as a result of litigation.

In 2010 the aircraft was purchased by Temco Industries Inc., another Eelewar coporation founded in 2010 with annual revenues of $48,000. The Bank of Utah in Salt Lake City acquired the plane in 2012.

Another such plane (# 76767, serial No. 65-10) now goes before the sale of the Aero-Drome "Kulbakino", and after a while also go overseas. Another former tanker aircraft (No. 76721, serial No. 56-07), devoid of refuelling and other war of signs, now has documents on the ship and air cargo IL-76TD and is in the interest of the Government of Angola under registration number D2-FEW.

Pakistan signed a contract with the State company "Ukrspecexport" at the end of 2006, which stipulated the delivery to Pakistan of four IL-78 private air tankers. Representatives of the Pakistan air force control the re-equipment of the aircraft, now converted back into flying tankers. The first air to air refuelling aircraft joined the force in mid of December 2009. The second aircraft was delivered to the customer 2010, and Pakistan received two more aircraft in 2011. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) received the third air to air refuelling aircraft from Ukraine, which reached the country in the first week of February 2011. Ukraine's state-controlled arms exporter, Ukrspecexport, completed the supply of IL-78 refueling aircraft from Ukraine to Pakistan in November 2011. The flight-test of the fourth plane ended in September 2011 at the NARP Mykolaiv Aircraft Repair Plant.

PAF is using IL-78 aircraft that it procured from Ukraine for refuelling purposes and immediately installed refuelling kits to save cost. These aircraft are equipped with the three-point drogue refueling system. These aircraft are equipped with Soviet-designed UPAZs pods and refuelling kits on Mirage-III Rose-I of South African origin. In the first phase, PAF announced that 30 Mirage-III Rose-I will be upgraded with in-flight refuelling probes and this was being done at PAC Kamra. The IL-78s will help train Pakistani crew in mid-air refuelling techniques and once operational, will be used to refuel the Mirage-III. These upgraded Mirage-III Rose-I will allow PAF’s pilots to have active air to air refueling with the IL-78P.

While Il-78P Midas MRTT aircrafts were initially used with the Mirages, this is going to change with the arrival of the new batch of the JF-17 Thunder fighter jets. Pakistan has shown intention of purchasing 250 JF-17 Thunder. These air refueling tankers will allow PAF increase the reach of its fighter jets while of strike missions and endurance of its fighter aircraft while on the petrol duties to protect the Pakistani airspace.

At present, on the basis of the Nikolaev Aircraft Repair Enterprise (NARP, at Kulbakino airport) is held by the selling preparation planning of controlled delivery techniques. In 2008, NARP with Aero-"Melitopol airfield operations" and "Bila Tserkva", flew five of the IL-78 [# 76675, 76670, 76682, 76730 and 76742 (series with no. 10-49, 50-10, 51-10, 57-59, 10-07).

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Page last modified: 13-04-2014 19:05:22 ZULU