The US Air Force (USAF) has completed the first air-to-air refuelling mission between a KC-135 Stratotanker and a Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
The USAF's 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) has helped the Romanian Air Force to get certified to receive fuel from all US KC-135s.
The 100th ARW, based at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, sent a 14-person crew and a KC-135 to Romania in support of the mission.
351st Air Refueling Squadron superintendent and a KC-135 boom operator Senior Master Sergeant Lee Adkins said: “It’s important for the interoperability between the two nations, because it shows our continuing cooperation with our partner nations here in the region.
“It’s amazing to be a part of and it’s something I don’t take lightly.”
Prior to the latest mission, the Romanian Air Force F-16 has refuelled from an Italian Airbus A330.
It must obtain familiarisation training and certification to receive fuel from a US tanker and further their Nato integration, the USAF stated.
Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot captain Mahaita Marin said: “The air-to-air refuelling (AAR) is a milestone for a developing air force, and I am definitely proud to be part of it.”
The 100th ARW is the only US air refuelling unit in the European and African theatre.
The Romanian Air Force currently operates a fleet of 12 F-16s bought from Portugal.
Image: A Romanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon makes contact with a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker for the first time. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kate Thornton.