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The Iluyshin-78 is an aerial refueling tanker that is fitted with three NATO standard external refueling units, giving it the ability to refuel three aircraft simultaneously. The IL-78 allows Tactical Air Defense Services, Inc. to significantly extend the length of training exercises and long range missions without its aircraft having to land for refueling.
TADS will operate the only Iluyshin-78 tankers available in the United States and become the only commercial provider in the world. The IL-78 airplane, based on the airframe of the IL-76MD military freighter, can carry a maximum cargo compartment payload of 48,000 kg and has the capability to transport water which can be dispersed from the aircraft to fight natural disasters such as wildfires.