Heavy lift capabilities of IAF
With the acquisition of ten Globemasters, the world’s heaviest transport aircraft and Super Hercules over last few years, the IAF has already taken major steps to boost its heavy transport aircraft fleet and the country is poised towards a significant strategic airlift capability, the need for which arises very often.
In fact when the IAF had acquired the IL-76 fleet from Russia in the mid-eighties, they were immediately pressed into service when a contingency arose to send its special forces to Maldives in 1988 for Operation Cactus and later utilized extensively to ferry men and material to Sri Lanka for Operation Pawan. However, the IL-76 MD were acquired 17 in number out of which 14 remains serviceable with the IAF while 3 were placed under the command of the Aviation Research Centre.
The IAF has recently been bedeviled by problems of maintenance of its IL-76 fleet due to irregular supply of spares and related maintenance problems. These 14 IL-76s are now over two and half decades old and a mid life update process is underway to maintain the existing cap
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