Military News

Thursday, July 16, 2015

U.S., Aussies conduct joint refueling for Talisman Sabre 2015

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 his crew.

"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 processes."

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.

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