The Royal Australian Air Force has conducted refuelling trials for the first time with F-15J Eagle fighter jets from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
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RAAF KC-30A multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft were able to use an advanced refuelling boom to connect with the F-15s in flight during day and night over Japan between 29 March and 26 April.
A total of 11 flights were made with 325 contacts between the aircraft as the RAAF obtains engineering data and trains KC-30A aircrew on refuelling F-15s.
Air Vice-Marshal Darren Goldie, Air Commander Australia, said these latest trials would further enhance air cooperation between Australia and Japan.
“Cooperation between our air forces is dependent on overcoming great distances, and air-to-air refuelling is an essential part of how we accomplish this,” AVM Goldie said.
“In 2022, we conducted similar trials with JASDF F-2A fighter aircraft, which enabled their participation in Exercise Pitch Black 22 in the Northern Territory.
“The success of these latest refuelling trials reflects our commitment to building on our deep and enduring relationship, understanding each other’s strengths, and further elevating our interoperability.”
The RAAF operates a fleet of seven KC-30A MRTTs from RAAF Base Amberley, west of Brisbane, with each aircraft able to carry more than 100 tonnes of fuel and transfer part of that load to a receiver aircraft.
RAAF KC-30A aircraft have been used extensively in support of refuelling Australian and foreign aircraft since their introduction to service in 2011.
“This cooperation and mutual understanding is an essential part of ensuring a secure, resilient, and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” AVM Goldie said.