The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has completed the first air-to-air refuelling mission between a KC-30A multi role tanker transport (MRTT) and a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16D+ Falcon aircraft.

The air-to-air refuelling mission required both aircraft to fly at high-speed in close formation.

During a week-long series of trials, KC-30A made 49 contacts and transferred more than 35,000l of fuel.

No. 33 Squadron leader Michael List said: “The F-16D+ is refuelled from the KC-30A’s advanced refuelling boom system (ARBS), which is controlled by the air refuelling operator.

“Each contact was made with differing configurations of height, speed and aircraft weight as part of the programme.”

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By GlobalData

The KC-30A’s ARBS also has the ability to refuel the F-35A Lightning II, as well as the E-7A Wedgetail, RAAF C-17A Globemaster, and other KC-30As.

Each KC-30A features two hose-and-drogue refuelling pods that are compatible with the RAAF’s own Hornet and Super Hornets, and the Growler electronic attack aircraft.

"Each contact was made with differing configurations of height, speed and aircraft weight as part of the programme."

List further added: “This programme has further increased the variety of aircraft able to be refuelled from the KC-30A, and enhanced the ability of the tanker to contribute to regional security outcomes.”

The RAAF currently operates five KC-30A aircraft from Amberley in South East Queensland.

It has deployed an aircraft to the Middle East region to provide air-to-air refuelling for Australian and Coalition aircraft as part of Operation OKRA.

Image: A KC-30A of the Royal Australian Air Force. Photo: courtesy of Peter Ellis.