Pilot Of An Indian Air Force Fighter Jet Carefully Navigates A Sukhoi Su-30 Mki For Air-To-Air Refuelling

The Indian Air Force possesses some of the most capable and skilled fighter jet pilots in the world, capable of putting pilots from any country to shame. Flying a fighter jet is one of the most demanding occupations in the world, both thrilling and hazardous.

It’s one thing to operate a fighter jet, but it’s quite another to fly an advanced fighter jet like the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI and do so accurately in mid-air fuel replenishment. Those that understand aviation understand the abilities, precision, and safety required for mid-air refuelling, especially when multi-million dollar fighter jets are involved.

The Indian Air Force recently published a video of a fighter aircraft pilot expertly manoeuvring the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI to get it replenished mid-air. The fuel was delivered by a Boeing C-135FR tanker operated by the French Air and Space Force (Armée de l’air et de l’espace). The FASF is carrying 11 of these tankers.

As shown in the video, two Sukhoi Su-30 MKIs flanked the tanker on both sides to undertake a precision air-to-air refuelling operation. The fighter jet, which can fly at Mach 2, synchronised with tanker speed, and afterwards a refuelling probe was dropped by the Boeing tanker, which was linked to the nose mounted fuel shaft of the Su-30 MKI.

The operation is claimed to have taken place during the exercise Pitch Black 2022, during which the IAF contingent was on its way to the Royal Australian Air Force’s Darwin station. The IAF used the Armée de l’air to get to their destination without stopping. Fighter jets, unlike passenger planes, have smaller fuel tanks and burn gasoline at a faster rate due to their speed. This reduces the range of the aircraft, hence air-to-air refuelling is used to save time and effort.

Pitch Black 2022

The Indian Air Force contingent later arrived in Australia to take part in Exercise Pitch Black 2022, which will take place in Darwin from August 19 to September 8. Over 100 aircraft and 2500 military personnel from several air forces will participate in this year’s exercise. According to the Indian Air Force, the IAF force, led by Group Captain YPS Negi, consists of around 100 air warriors deployed with four Su-30 MKI fighters and two C-17 aircraft.

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