The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft has refuelled an E-7A Wedgetail, using its air-to-air refuelling boom for the first time during operations.
Performed during a coalition mission above Iraq, the air-to-air boom refuelling process involved two large aircraft transferring fuel through a manoeuvrable pipe, known as a boom, which extends back from the rear of the KC-30A.
Australian Air Task Group commander air commodore Stuart Bellingham said: "Operational boom refuelling by the KC-30A last week was another significant achievement for both Air Force and the Air Task Group.
"Being able to use the KC-30A boom on operations to refuel an aircraft such as the Wedgetail is a force multiplier for Australian Air Power and Coalition air operations."
The refuelling effort of this type use the AAR boom at the rear of the aircraft, rather than the wingtip AAR drogues used to refuel smaller aircraft equipped with an AAR probe, the RAAF stated.
During the process, the Air Refuelling Operator was responsible for remotely manoeuvring the boom from a control panel on the KC-30A flight deck.
Air Refuelling Operator said: "To refuel the Wedgetail we manoeuvred the boom into a refuelling receptacle located just above and aft of the aircraft cockpit while moving at over 750km/h, and at a height of 25,000ft, and then started transferring the fuel.
"During this mission we transferred 34,750lb of fuel in about 15 minutes, the equivalent of refuelling 300 family sedans at a rate of less than three seconds per car."
A military variant of the Airbus A330 passenger jet, the KC-30A aircraft is designed to provide air-to-air refuelling for air combat to enhance flight time and range.
In September, the RAAF completed the first fuel transfer from an RAAF KC-30A to a US Air Force (USAF) F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).
Image: RAAF’s KC-30A refuelled E-7A Wedgetail its air-to-air refuelling boom extends back from the rear of the aircraft. Photo: courtesy of Major Cameron Jamieson / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.