The USAF used the Omega KDC-10 commercial refueler for the first time to support the deployment of its F-15, F-16 and F-22 fighters.

Through a statement issued by the Indo-Pacific Command, it was confirmed that the US Air Force is following a process of change in its preparations for aviation operations by including commercial companies. The USAF then joins in using commercial resupply companies following the line set by the Navy (US Navy) and Marine Corps (USMC), which have been doing so for more than 20 years.

This can be seen in an Air Force exercise, where an Omega Air Refueling Services KDC-10 refueling aircraft flew with F-16 Fighting Falcons from Osan Air Base, South Korea, to Singapore to provide mid-air refueling. Commercial aircraft capacity was not completed during the year.

Lt. Col. Curtis Holtmann, chief of air mobility operations for Pacific Air Forces, said: “Last summer, a commercial refueling company was able to refuel an Air Force E-3 and RC-135 aircraft in coordination with Air Combat Command during an exercise (…) We are expanding this openness at PACAF, and have identified a functional proof of concept To refuel fighter aircraft during Exercise Commando Sling 23“.

The importance of these tests lies in the new options presented to the US Air Force and the possibilities of increasing the number of exercises while keeping tanker combat aircraft free to carry out other combat missions, where commercial aircraft can take their place in training.

Holtmann commented that the commercial refueling company will end the exercise by supplying three different types of fighter aircraft: the F-15C, F-16 and F-22. In addition, it transported 40 people on the Osan-Singapore flight.

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The McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extended is a military version of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 used by the United States Air Force. It has the capacity to transport up to 75 people and approximately 77,000 kg of cargo over a distance of up to 7,000 km without refueling. It can also carry 160,000 kilograms of fuel thanks to its tanks located under the cargo floor, under the front lower cargo compartment, in the middle area of ​​the wing and another under the rear compartment, in addition to 3 main wing DC-10 tanks.

The KC-10 can refuel a wide range of military aircraft using an advanced aerial refueling system or a central hose-and-dropper refueling system.

Photos from: US Indo-Pacific Command.

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Myrtle Frost

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