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RAAF KC-30 refuels a RAAF C-17 for the first time

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 6, 2016

Flight test trials of a RAAF KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport refuelling a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III during the first air-to-air refuel near Brisbane Queensland.The RAAF has conducted air-to-air refuelling trials between a KC-30 MRTT tanker transport and one of its own C-17 Globemaster transports for the first time.

The two-hour sortie took place off the Queensland coast in late April and saw the 33 Squadron KC-30’s ARBS boom make “a number” of contacts with the 36 Squadron C-17, a Department of Defence statement released on Thursday says, and follows the successful refuelling trials between a RAAF KC-30 and a US Air Force C-17 earlier this year.

The KC-30’s ongoing boom testing and clearance program is being run by the RAAF’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU)  in cooperation with 33 Squadron.

“Our testing uses a team of ARDU flight test aircrew (test pilots, flight test engineers and flight test system specialists) along with pilots and aerial refuelling operators from the operational squadrons working together on the program,” ARDU commanding officer Wing Commander Daniel Rich said in the statement.

“Our testing program is not just of benefit to the RAAF but, through close cooperation with the United States Air Force flight test system, this clearance activity will also provide a meaningful contribution across allied test and evaluation activities.”

The KC-30 is already cleared to conduct boom refuelling of other KC-30s and the E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C aircraft.

Flight test trials of a RAAF KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport refuelling a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III during the first air-to-air refuel near Brisbane Queensland.



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Comments (7)

  • Bill


    Awesome photos, congrats to everyone at 33, 36 sqdns and the ARDU

  • Allan


    Australia, now, Truly has global reach capability. Well done.

  • Dane


    Probably the best thing to come out of this will be ability to transport larger loads of equipment to Antarctica. It would take away the requirement to carry enough fuel for a return journey (provided the weather forecasts permitted refuelling) and allow for a top up on the return journey to Australia.




  • mick181


    Antartica trips are not a military requirment, more a civil support mission. The ability to strategically deploy a larger military payload anywhere in the world is what would be driving this capability. Don’t forget even with the aircraft currently being converted in Spain we will have only 7 aircraft, so only 1 could be used to support a C-17 mission to Antarctica if that aircraft was unable to fly then the C-17 could be stuck on the ice in Antarctia and at the mercy of the weather. We could easily end up losing a very expensive and valuable aircraft.
    I can’t see the RAAF wanting to do the Antartica mission to often, just to much risk of a catastrophic failure to get the aircraft back. They will always fly down there with a light load and enough fuel to get home.

  • John


    Dane and mick181 , you don’t fuel to get home as you don’t have a fall back position if the Air refuel fails . You take off from Aus with a heavy payload and light fuel and then Air refuel say a couple of hundred miles into the flight before you Point of no Return . If the Air refuel fails you return to Aus

  • Chris


    The KC-45 can’t do this.

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