IMAGINE you are far from home, low on fuel, with no petrol station in sight.

Now imagine you are flying one of the RAAF's supersonic strike fighters, 10,000m off the ground, with nearly empty fuel tanks, what do you do?

Simple, call up 33 Squadron's helpful "flying fuel stations" for a top-up.

The KC-30 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) provides a force extender role to the RAAF, and allied air forces, allowing them to stay airborne for longer, making them an even more formidable opponent.

The QT had a front row seat to the workings of the tanker fleet during a training flight from Amberley to Newcastle.

Air Commodore Ken Robinson, Amberley's Senior Defence Officer, said the KC-30 was a great example of the RAAF's 'fifth generation' capability.

"On the one hand it is a stock standard airliner, but on the other, it is fitted with the most cutting edge technology, and is the most sought-after refueller in the Middle East, the Coalition fighter pilots want to come to it for service," he said.

 

Air Commodore Ken Robinson talks about the force extension capabilities of the RAAF KC-30 MRTT fleet
Air Commodore Ken Robinson talks about the force extension capabilities of the RAAF KC-30 MRTT fleet Allan Roebuck

Flight Lieutenant Tom Hawes said flying the KC-30 was not difficult with computers doing a lot of the hard work of maintaining the in-flight balance.

"So long as you get it right on take-off, the aircraft does most of the work while in the air," FLT LT Howes said.

"It allows a 2000kg imbalance between the wings, then the system will automatically adjust."

Airborne Refuelling Operator Warrant Officer Andrew Newman said procedures were standard throughout Coalition forces, letting him control the refuelling operation, including the order and position of the waiting aircraft.



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