Combat Approved

The Refueller: Docking Masters. Russia’s Il-78 refuelling tanker

The range of an aircraft is limited by how much fuel it can carry, but luckily some can take advantage of a filling station in the sky to extend their flying time and avoid the need to land. Hitch a ride on Russia’s Il-78 airborne tanker, and the military planes that rely on it to stay airborne.

In Combat Approved, flyers and engineers show the technology of the mid-air refuelling and explain just how dangerous it can be. Host Aleksey Egorov tries to refuel a MiG-29 in a simulator, while correspondent Ilya Losev experiences the real thing in the giant Il-78.