The Australian Department of Defence has announced that one of the surveillance aircraft of the P-8A Poseidon fleet of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) completed the first air-to-air refuelling with a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport.

The KC-30A multi-role tanker transport from the RAAF Amberley home base refuelled P-8A Poseidon from RAAF Base Edinburgh’s No 92 Wing.

Seven refuelling flights between 22 September and 1 October occurred between the two aircraft.

An 11m advanced refuelling boom system was installed on the KC-30A, which was used for the refuelling.

The refuelling was carried out at designated training airspace off the Queensland coast.

P-8A Poseidon Squadron Leader Captain Chris Godfrey said: “The execution of air-to-air refuelling requires extensive planning and training in both the simulator and airborne environment.

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“This included rigorous training scenarios to ensure we were ready for the demanding aerial refuelling flights.”

The aircraft crew had to ensure that the connections were precise to permit the transfer of fuel. Additionally, communications between the aircrew of the No 92 Wing and No 33 Squadron was said to be essential.

Officer Commanding No 92 Wing Group Captain John Grime said: “The missions represent a significant achievement for the RAAF P-8A fleet on our path to final operational capability.

“It enhances the existing operational effectiveness of the aircraft’s long-range surveillance capabilities, extending the endurance and radius of action of the platform.”

In August last year, French defence procurement and technology agency Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) and Airbus conducted in-flight refuelling tests.

The test involved the transfer of fuel between Airbus’ military transport aircraft A400M and a Caracal helicopter.