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USAF, Marines Conduct F-35A Hot-Pit Refuel Training in Japan

The US Marine Corps has announced that Marine Corps Installations Pacific (MCIPAC) and the US Air Force conducted hot-pit refueling training with the F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

The exercise took place during a two-day training at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, on March 9. MCIPAC Marines and 355th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron airmen took part in the activity.

Hot-Pit Refueling

Hot-pit refueling involves ground crew refueling a plane while its engines are still running. The maneuver allows the aircraft to get back in the air quickly, drastically reducing downtime during an operation.

“The goal of this class is to ensure Marines fully understand how to refuel an F-35A hot-pit and also follow an Agile Combat Employment sustainment mentality,” Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Williams, a crew chief with the 355th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, said in a statement.

“The Marines need to know how to refuel hot-pit because if the F-35A lands in the field, Marines are the first to respond. When they respond, their goal is to refuel the airplane and possibly fix what is damaged and put the aircraft back in the fight,” Williams added.

Hot pit refuelling
US soldiers pose for a photo during hot-pit refueling training. Photo: Pfc. Jonathan Beauchamp/Marine Corps Installations Pacific

Increasing Proficiency

The two-day training offered personnel an opportunity to enhance their aircraft platform proficiency using a single-point pump to refuel the F-35 immediately after landing.

The training began with classroom training, proceeding to a cold-pit refuel exercise and hand signal communication with a parked F-35A jet. On the second day, the Marines completed two final cold refuels before heading to the flight line to prepare for the incoming aircraft.

The exercise was completed with a three-person team, including a fueler, aircraft director, and emergency fuel breaker, with each jet taking over 15 minutes to refuel before returning to the theater.  

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