The US Air Force (USAF) airmen from the 354th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS) and the 356th Aircraft Maintenance Unit (AMU) have conducted the first hot pit refuelling operation for the F-35A Lightning II at Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) in Alaska.

The three-step programme included classroom training and a supervised walkthrough to observe hot pit refuelling. This was concluded with the actual hot pit refuelling operation.

Refuelling by hot pit method requires 30 minutes to an hour to execute. This reduces the normal refuelling time.

During hot pit refuelling, approximately 1,900gal of JP-8 jet fuel was supplied in a small window of time.

The first operation conducted on the F-35A at Eielson AFB has achieved a milestone for the future refuelling operations.

USAF the 354th LRS fuels operations section chief Sargent Heath Krogmann said: “Hot pitting is the hot refuelling of aircraft with engines running. We all have to have a programme for this type of refuelling operation.

“Through this phased approach we accomplish required training by working together. Individuals are then certified to perform the hot pits.

“It allows the wing to utilise its equipment and people in a more efficient way. It also allows our pilots to get back into the fight quicker.”

Recently, the USAF F-35A Lighting II jets were deployed from Hill AFB in Utah, US, to Al Dhafra Air Base in UAE to support the UASF Central Command mission in the region.

This is the third time in around 12 months that airmen from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings at Hill AFB deployed F-35A Lighting IIs into combat.