The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has conducted air-to-air refuelling trials with Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-15J and F-15DJ Eagle jets for the first time.

The trials were conducted in Japan from 29 March to 26 April and saw the MRTT connecting with the jets in flight using its advanced refuelling boom.

Over the course of the 11 flights and 325 contacts made between the aircraft, the trials tested a range of manoeuvres and different conditions both during day and night.

The data gathered from these tests is expected to allow the RAAF to train its KC-30A aircrew to refuel F-15s in future operations.

Currently, the RAAF has a fleet of seven KC-30A MRTTs stationed at the RAAF Base Amberley, which is located west of Brisbane.

Each aircraft has the capacity to carry over 100t of fuel.

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By GlobalData

Air Commander Australia air vice-marshal Darren Goldie said: “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.

“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 KC-30As have been instrumental in supporting refuelling operations for both Australian and foreign aircraft since their introduction to service in 2011.