For the first time ever the Royal Air Force A330 Voyager has flown in formation with a USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, to complete air to air refuelling for British fast jets.
Royal Air Force personnel from Nos. 10 and 101 Squadrons have been undergoing tactical training with the United States Air Force during Exercise Tartan Flag. Crews from the 100th Air Refuelling Wing (100 ARW), a United States Air Force unit, based at RAF Mildenhall, deployed to RAF Brize Norton in order to plan, train and execute mixed formation Air to Air refuelling with the RAF’s Voyager Force.
Flight Lieutenant Jase Orr, Air to Air Refuelling Instructor said:
“This is the first time the A300 Voyager and the KC-135 have refuelled together, it’s amazing to work with the US Air Force, who are used to flying in tank formation. The Voyager doesn’t do this, so it’s an exciting opportunity for the crews to experience how the US Air Force operate.”
This training focuses on preparing the crews, but also strengthens the air tanker force, a facility that may be required for any large scale NATO deployment. Both aircraft will be deployed on Exercise Red Flag 2018, which is an annual aerial combat training exercise held at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.
Captain Max Hinton, from 100th Air Refuelling Wing said:
“We are training in mixed formation flying for Exercise Red Flag, it’s important to do this to expand on our capabilities and work closer together and it’s also been great fun.”