Australia and Japan have conducted their first air-to-air refueling trials with a KC-30A multi-role tanker transport and F-15 Eagle fighter jets.
During the drill, the Royal Australian Air Force tanker replenished the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force F-15J and F-15DJ fighters mid-air with an advanced refueling boom.
The demonstration included 11 flights and 325 contacts under varying conditions and maneuvers day and night.
Observations from the trials will be used to train Australian KC-30A aircrew to refuel F-15 jets in future missions.
The replenishment test further improves aerial teamwork between the country’s air force and its Japanese counterpart.
Mutual understanding and cooperation gained through the training are an “essential part” of securing and bolstering the Indo-Pacific airspace.
“Cooperation between our air forces is dependent on overcoming great distances, and air-to-air refuelling is an essential part of how we accomplish this,” Air Vice-Marshal Darren Goldie stated.
“In 2022 we conducted similar trials with JASDF F-2A fighter aircraft, which enabled their participation in Exercise Pitch Black 22 in the Northern Territory.”
“The success of these latest refuelling trials reflects our commitment to building on our deep and enduring relationship, understanding each other’s strengths, and further elevating our interoperability.”
The Royal Australian Air Force currently deploys seven KC-30As from its home base at RAAF Amberley near Brisbane.
Each tanker can transport over 100 tons (100,000 kilograms) of fuel.
The aircraft were introduced in 2011 and have been active in replenishment operations for Australian and international aerial assets.