The third IL-78 tanker plane from Ukraine ready for delivery to China for People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
Ilyushin Il-78 are painted in PLANAF tactical camouflage was spotted in Nikolayev (Ukraine) in April 2016. The plane after is expected to be delivered in May to China.
China ordered totally three refurbished IL-78 air-refueling planes from Ukraine in 2011.
Besides, it was also reported that China ordered 34 IL-76MD transport planes and four IL-78 refueling planes from Russia in 2005, but the plan ran aground later.
The Ilyushin IL-78 air-to-air refuelling tanker aircraft is a four-engine tanker principally used for in-flight refuelling. It was designed and developed on the basis of a similar predecessor, the IL-76, and has the Nato reporting name Midas. The maiden flight of IL-78 took place on 26 June 1983 and the aircraft entered into service in 1984. About 53 aircraft are currently operational worldwide.