The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft conducted its first air-to-air refuelling with a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft.
The two aircraft undertook seven refuelling flights from September 22 to October 1, with the KC-30A leaving its home base of RAAF Amberley and meeting up with the P-8A Poseidon from RAAF Base Edinburgh’s No. 92 Wing. Using the 11-metre advanced refuelling boom system mounted on the KC-30A, the refuelling contact between the two aircraft was made in the designated training airspace off the coast of Queensland.
With this, RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon fleet has taken another step towards achieving full operational capability (FOC).
Captain of the P-8A Poseidon Squadron Leader Chris Godfrey said extensive planning was the key to the success of the missions.
“The execution of air-to-air refuelling requires extensive planning and training in both the simulator and airborne environment,” Squadron Leader Godfrey said. “This included rigorous training scenarios to ensure we were ready for the demanding aerial refuelling flights.”
During the refuelling missions, crews of both aircraft had to ensure the connections between the aircraft were precise to allow for the transfer of fuel.
On the ground, communications between No. 92 Wing and No. 33 Squadron aircrew also was key to the success of the flights.
“Fundamentally, it’s a team effort both in the air and on the ground,” Squadron Leader Godfrey said. “This included our No. 11 Squadron maintenance personnel who worked long hours over the past couple of months to ensure the serviceability of the aircraft for the aerial refuelling flights.