Spangdahlem Air Base (AB) in Germany has used the Versatile Integrated Partner Equipment Refueling (VIPER) kit to refuel US Air Force’s (USAF) B-1B Lancer bombers.
During the hot-pit refuelling mission, the kit was employed for the first time on two B-1s from the Dyess Air Force Base’s (AFB) 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron.
The bombers are participating in Bomber Task Force (BTF)- Europe 22-1 and are currently operating from Royal Air Force Fairford in England.
According to the USAF, the refuelling system was first used for F-16 Fighting Falcons in the US Air Forces in Europe–Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) theatre.
USAF 52nd Logistic Readiness Squadron operations superintendent and VIPER kit co-creator master sergeant Jason Yunker said: “The innovation is hopefully going to change the standard for how we do our jobs.
“Today was monumental in showcasing the VIPER kit’s ability to put the ‘agile’ in Agile Combat Employment, and not just supporting our F-16s, but with any aircraft.”
In February this year, the VIPER kit was a finalist in the AFWERX Spark Tank competition. It received $1.2m in funding to complete the project.
52nd Fighter Wing commander colonel Leslie Hauck said: “The Agile Combat Employment concept ensures our multi-capable Airmen can sustain and execute missions from austere locations throughout Europe.
“Spangdahlem’s strategic location supports a range of fighter, mobility and bomber missions and the Sabers building the innovative advancements our forces need to support the all-domain warfighter.”
In July last year, Spangdahlem AB hosted a large force exercise, which saw the participation of multiple wings from across USAFE-AFAFRICA.