UK’s Royal Air Force Successfully Tests New Aircraft Refueling Capability

RAF's Atlas is a powerful cargo aircraft that can reach remote military air bases. 6 photos
Photo: Steve Lympany
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Aircraft refueling capabilities are essential for combat superiority, and the world’s most powerful military forces are constantly developing ways of improving them. UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has recently tested a new capability that will allow its aircraft to reach further, faster.
Agile Combat Employment” is the official name of an RAF program designed to improve the ability to operate from “austere” air bases, in order to deploy aircraft faster, throughout a wider area. The goal is to increase the number of air bases for combat sorties, and this requires efficient and quick ways of refueling.

To support this program, RAF specialists have developed a new refueling capability, the Air Landed Aircraft Refueling System, which will be used by the A400M Atlas aircraft. Recently, this new system was tested for the first time. The Fuel Support Teams at the No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron specialize in developing tactical refueling solutions for fixed-wing aircraft. One of these solutions is a Primary Bulk Fuel Installation that’s big enough to store huge quantities of fuel, enough for eight A400M aircraft, or 525 Typhoon.

During this recent test, which took place at RAF Brize Norton, the Fuels Support Team monitored the de-fueling of Atlas into a Tactical Refueling Area. Two of these demonstrations were conducted, one in daylight and the other one at night. Basically, this new capability will allow RAF teams to take fuel from large, multi-engine aircraft, such as Atlas, and transfer it into a refueling facility, where it will be used to support fast jets that are sent from their main bases to more austere locations.

The RAF demonstration “showcases the ability of A400M to rapidly establish a forward refuelling point, which is critical to projecting our Forces wherever they may be needed in the world," said Wing Commander Patton, Officer Commanding 30 Squadron.

Atlas is a cargo aircraft that can carry 40.7 tons (37 metric tons) over 2,000 nautical miles, to remote military airfields. This new refueling system is another asset added to its tactical capabilities.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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