An Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport has achieved another milestone in air refuelling after it made its first contact with a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16D+ Falcon aircraft on Monday, 05 October.
The KC-30A deployed to Singapore for a week-long series of trials, making 49 contacts and transferring over 35,000 litres of fuel. The trials involved personnel from No. 33 Squadron and the RAAF’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit working closely with the RSAF Flight Test Agency.
Squadron Leader Michael List from No. 33 Squadron was the aircraft captain during the testing, and said it was a great achievement for the combined RAAF and RSAF test team.
“The F-16D+ is refuelled from the KC-30A’s Advanced Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), which is controlled by the Air Refuelling Operator,” Squadron Leader List said.
“Each contact was made with differing configurations of height, speed and aircraft weight as part of the program.”
The trials demonstrated the close working relationship between the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the RSAF.
“This program has further increased the variety of aircraft able to be refuelled from the KC-30A, and enhanced the ability of the tanker to contribute to regional security outcomes,” Squadron Leader List said.
Air-to-air refuelling allows aircraft to fly for longer periods and carry heavier stores. The method of air-to-air refuelling from the KC-30A’s ARBS requires both aircraft to be travelling at high speed in close proximity to each other.
The RAAF operates five KC-30A aircraft from RAAF Amberley in South East Queensland. Currently an aircraft is deployed to the Middle East Region providing air-to-air refuelling for Australian and Coalition aircraft as part of Operation OKRA.
The KC-30A’s ARBS is also compatible with refuelling the F-35A Lightning II, as well as the E-7A Wedgetail, RAAF C-17A Globemaster, and other KC-30As. Each KC-30A is also equipped with two hose-and-drogue refuelling pods that are compatible with the RAAF’s own Hornet and Super Hornets, and the Growler electronic attack aircraft.