Two MC-130Js from the 67th Special Operations Squadron conducted a Forward Arming and Refuelling Point exercise out of RAF Mildenhall.
A Forward Arming and Refuelling Point, or FARP, is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another.
According to a US Air Force press release:
“Because of the nature of the exercise, it included the involvement of three separate wings: the 48th Fighter Wing, 352d Special Operations Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing, each having their own part to play in the overall success of the exercise.
During the exercise, MC-130Js flew to RAF Lakenheath, picked up F-15C Eagle maintenance crews and armament supplies, returned to RAF Mildenhall to drop them off, then continued on to a FARP location to refuel four F-15Cs from the 493rd Fighter Squadron assigned to RAF Lakenheath, England.
The 100th ARW supplied the FARP hose deployment personnel from the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron. This was also the first time the 67th SOS performed FARP with a fixed-wing fighter aircraft, added Kauzlaric.”
“The FARP gives us the ability to ground refuel fixed wing, tilt-rotor and rotor assets,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Nighbert, 67th SOS operations superintendent.
Maj. John Kauzlaric, 67th SOS combat systems officer said:
“This allows our air assets to engage the enemy, get refueled, rearmed and get back to the fight quickly.
It doesn’t require us to have a fully manned base, which allows for more flexibility.”
Although FARP exercises are common within the special operations community, exercise Rapid Eagle was unique because it included the MC-130J and the F-15C.
Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander said:
“This was the first ever FARP between any MC-130 variant and an F-15C. It was important because it helped to prove the concept of integrating the FARP capabilities of the MC-130 with the F-15C. This capability could provide improved flexibility for future operations.
The exercise was a great success and allowed Airmen from the three wings to work together in a new and exciting way. Exercises like this help increase our ability to integrate our capabilities and train our Airmen in unfamiliar tasks.”