The first air-to-air refuelling from a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport to a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport has occurred over Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The five-hour sortie on February 10 saw 39 contacts between the KC-30 and the C-17, Defence stated, with approximately 6,800kg of fuel transferred via the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). This paves the way for refuelling trials with 36 Squadron C-17s in the near future, stated Group Captain Adam Williams, officer commanding 86 Wing.
“The ARBS is a key enabler for the Air Force with most of the RAAF’s future fleet requiring boom type refuelling rather than hose and drogue,” GPCAPT Williams said.
RAAF C-17 crews will soon begin trials, having trained in the role late last year with a Republic of Singapore Air Force KC-135 tanker. In addition to further trials involving the KC-30 and a US C-17, refuelling trials with the F-15 and further trials with the F-16 are scheduled, Defence said.
The RAAF operates five KC-30s, with two more joining the fleet from 2018.
Separately, in other tanker news, Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus tanker, which is being developed for the US Air Force, has refuelled an F/A-18 for the first time, also on February 10. It was the first time the KC-46’s hose and drogue system had been used during flight test.
Earlier on January 24 the KC-46 had used its boom for the first time to refuel an F-16.