04 December 2014

AUS: Advanced tanker takes the initiative

The crew of a RAAF KC-30A have been praised by senior Super Hornet crews in Australia’s Air Task Group for their performance during a recent mission over Iraq.

Commander of Australia’s Air Task Group, Air Commodore Steve Roberton, said the decisive action from the air-to-air refueller during a mission over Iraq mid November was pivotal in a successful attack against ISIL militants.

“In a recent mission over the North of Iraq, the actions of the KC-30A crew reduced the refuelling time for Australia’s Super Hornets by 15 minutes. This enabled them to rapidly return to the fight during a crucial period of battle,” AIRCDRE Roberton said.

“That might not sound like much but minutes matter.  

“Their situational awareness and initiative allowed our own Super Hornets to deliver weapons with a decisive effect in support of Iraqi Forces.”

The KC-30A is equipped with advanced communication technology which allows crews to monitor the progress of the air and ground battle.  

They exploit this increased situational awareness to dynamically re-position the aircraft as close as possible to Australia’s Super Hornets and other Coalition strike aircraft.  

Taking this initiative reduces the refuelling time between attacks on ISIL.

“Their actions are often unheralded but the KC-30A crews made the difference that day.”

As for the KC-30A crew, they attribute their responsiveness to the aircraft’s advanced systems and its reliability.  

One of the pilots, SQNLDR C (name withheld), remarked on how the aircraft was withstanding the hot and dusty conditions in the Middle East.

“The tanker is thriving over here, the more you fly it, the better it performs,” he said.