Everything about Aerial Refueling

Air to air refuelling

  • It is also known as Aerial refuelling, air refuelling, in-flight refuelling and tanking.
  • It is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one military aircraft to another during flight.
  • During air-to-air refuelling, both aircraft must maintain accurate flying parameters.

The two main refuelling systems are:

  1. Probe-and-drogue: It requires exceptional flying skills as the receiving aircraft has to accurately insert the receptacle probe into the basket-shaped drogue trailing the tanker aircraft. This method is practiced by IAF’s pilots.
  2. Flying boom: It is complex as it requires a dedicated boom operator system. But in this system, fuel is transferred at the faster speed.

Advantages of in flight refuelling

  • It gives the receiving aircraft the capacity to fly for longer duration.
  • It has given a tremendous boost to the IAF’s operational capability.

Embraer transport aircraft

  • It is a twin engine regional jet produced by Embraer, a Brazilian aerospace company.
  • IAF has mounted indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) system ‘Netra’ on it.


  • It is an Airborne Early Warning and Control system.
  • It is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • It has been inducted in IAF in February this year.
  • Its three systems are being built and will be based at Bhatinda, facing the western border.
  • It gives a 240-degree coverage of airspace.

Airborne Early Warning and Control

  • It is also called eye-in-the-sky.
  • It is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battle space in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes.
  • It is capable of long-range surveillance and a force multiplier.