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Considering the current diversity of coalition air fleets in some parts of the world (the Horn of Africa situation comes to mind), can Russian-built tankers refuel NATO probe-and-drogue receivers, and vice versa? (Say, a US Navy F/A-18E getting a helping hand from an Indian Air Force Il-78MKI, or an Ethiopian Air Force Su-27 filling its tanks from a Royal Australian Air Force A330 MRTT?)

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2 Answers 2

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The drogue system was standardized in the 50s and reverse engineered by the USSR in that time so nearly all aircraft that use it are compatible with each other.

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    $\begingroup$ Flying boom does not come into this question at all. The question is whether NATO probe-and-drogue is compatible with Russian-built probe-and-drogue. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ This answer would be a lot clearer if you removed references to the flying boom $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ What probe-and-drogue aircraft are not compatible with the NATO system? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 0:39
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Can Russian-built tankers refuel NATO probe-and-drogue receivers, and vice versa?

The Russian system is called UPAZ and its manufacturer Zvezda states

The nozzle assemblies are adapted to the refueling pods of foreign aircraft

http://777.zvezda-npp.ru/engl/zaprav.html

Basically this means a bog-standard Russian Mig/Sukhoi cannot plug into a Western tanker aircraft without some change in the configuration.

Say, a US Navy F/A-18E getting a helping hand from an Indian Air Force Il-78MKI

The Indian IL-78s have Israeli-made refuelling equipment so I can't say whether it's compatible with F/A-18E. However, from what I know, India has been using this Israeli equipment to refuel its MiGs and Sukois just fine.

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