The RAAF KC-30A tanker transport aircraft has delivered 100,000,000 pounds of fuel during air-to-air refuel missions on Operation OKRA in the Middle East.
The milestone was reached last week during a routine air-to-air refuelling mission. The KC-30A is an asset of the Australian Air Task Group (ATG) and provides the air-to-air refuelling capability for Australian and coalition assets.
Chief of Joint Operations Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said the reliability and large air-to-air refuelling capability of the KC-30A has added tangible value to the Australian and Coalition forces, with their large demand for aerial refuelling.
“The KC-30A has been a significant force multiplier for the Air Force and has proven itself over Iraq as part of Operation OKRA,” AIRMSHL Hupfeld said.
“Just one KC-30A can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft over 5,000km and has the versatility to refuel a range of different aircraft types. From Australian C-17A Globemaster IIIs to US Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers, British Eurofighters and French Dassault Rafales, the KC-30A can keep these planes in the air efficiently and effectively.
“With the professionalism and operational effects we bring to the global coalition, the Australian KC-30A contribution is very well regarded amongst the coalition partners.”
A RAAF KC-30A is also set to refuel Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets as part of the Indian Air Force's participation in Exercise Pitch Black, currently underway in the NT.
Initial trials began on July 30, the opening day of the exercise and, subject to a formal clearance being approved, the KC-30A will support the Sukhois as far as RMAF Butterworth on their way home.
The KC-30A is equipped with two forms of air-to-air refuelling systems — an Advanced Refuelling Boom System mounted under the fuselage of the aircraft and a hose and drogue refuelling pod underneath each wing. These systems are controlled by an Air Refuelling Operator on the flightdeck, who can view refuelling on 2D and 3D screens.
Advanced mission systems are also fitted to the aircraft. They include the Link 16 real-time data-link, military communications and navigation suites, and an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against surface-to-air missiles.
The RAAF has six KC-30A aircraft in service operated by No. 33 Squadron from RAAF Amberley in Queensland. The aircraft was first flown by the RAAF in September 2011.
Operation OKRA is the ADF's contribution to the international effort to defeat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria.