by Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
7/16/2015 - DARWIN, Australia -- Above
the skies North Australian coast, in support of Talisman Sabre 2015
exercise operations, members of the U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force
are conducting air refueling missions for U.S. and Australian fighters
to improve interoperability and familiarization with each other's
procedures July 15, 2015.
A variety of U.S. and Australian F/A-18 Hornets, Super Hornets and
EA-18G Growlers lined each side of the Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A
Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft and U.S. Air Force KC-10 Extenders
from the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst,
New Jersey, to refuel.
"This is about our 8th sortie and we will continue on throughout the
exercise," said squadron leader Stephen Monypenny, No. 33 Squadron Air
combat officer and air refueling operator. "Our primary receiver has
been U.S. Navy aircraft, which has been great for us because we've only
been working with them the last year or so, so we're still learning
their refueling processes."
The crew of four has been flying an average of two refueling missions a
day throughout the exercise. For this particular mission, they provided
fuel for 11 aircraft and offloaded about 135,000 pounds of fuel.
"Today was really busy for us," Monypenny said. "We usually refuel about half of the number of aircraft we did today."
The KC-30 used in the exercise was originally an Airbus A330 commercial
jetliner, but was modified with military refueling capabilities. A
drogue, or fuel line, extends from each of the aircraft's wings. The air
flow for the moving plane holds the drogue steady as it hangs behind
the wing, allowing the pilot of a refueling aircraft to navigate into
position and connect to receive fuel. In all, it can carry 110 tons of
fuel, 80 tons of cargo and 270 passengers.
Using either an advanced aerial refueling boom, or a hose and drogue
centerline refueling system, the KC-10 can refuel a wide variety of U.S.
and allied military aircraft within the same mission. The aircraft is
equipped with lighting for night operations. The KC-10 can transport up
to 75 people and nearly 170,000 pounds (76,560 kilograms) of cargo a
distance of about 4,400 miles (7,040 kilometers) unrefueled.
RAAF Cpl. Benjamin Roberts, a No. 33 Squadron crew attendant, said the
joint refueling training is good experience and valuable training for
"I've enjoyed this exercise and the opportunity to get experience with
other countries' operations and airframes," Roberts said. "I think it's
good that we can both learn from each other because we have different
Monypenny also highlighted the importance of the joint operations.
"This exercise is perfect training for us," Monypenny said. "We're
getting familiarized with each other's procedures, call signs, habits
and nuances, and that makes it a lot easier for all of us when we have
joint operations in the future."
Talisman Sabre 2015 is a joint exercise between the U.S. and Australia
that improves both countries' ability to plan and execute a full range
of operations from combat missions to humanitarian assistance efforts.