The US Air Force’s (USAF) KC-10 Extenders have successfully refuelled various aircraft supporting the Talisman Saber training exercise in Australia.

The biennial exercise focuses on bilateral military training between US Pacific Command forces and the Australian Defence Force.

It seeks to improve US-Australia combat readiness, increase interoperability, maximise combined training opportunities and conduct maritime prepositioning and logistics operations in the Pacific.

As part of the refuelling mission over the Pacific Ocean, three KC-10 Extenders transferred fuel to the US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets and the USAF KC-10s.

6th Air Refueling Squadron instructor boom operator technical sergeant Kenneth Cook said: “The KC-10 is essential to the airforce because we can transport any piece of cargo, equipment and personnel to anywhere in the world, any continent, any country.

"We're able to refuel those jets who have to go answer the mission whatever it may be, or engage in humanitarian response."

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By GlobalData

During the mission, five C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft were also refuelled by KC-10 Extenders.

The C-17s were carrying more than 300 coalition paratroopers in support of Exercise Ultimate Reach, a strategic airdrop mission.

"KC-10s can bring everything mobility represents to the table."

9th Air Refueling Squadron commander and Ultimate Reach tanker mission commander lieutenant colonel Stew Welch said: "KC-10s are critical to delivering fuel to our partners.

"Not only can we get gas, but we have a huge cargo compartment capability as well. KC-10s can bring everything mobility represents to the table."

The KC-10 tanker's combined six fuel tanks carry more than 356,000 pounds of fuel in-flight.

The ability to switch between using an advanced aerial refuelling boom or a hose and drogue centreline refuelling system allows the tanker to refuel a variety of the US and allied military aircraft interchangeably.

Image: A KC-10 Extender from Travis Air Force Base refuels a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet over the Pacific Ocean. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force.