Royal Australian Air Force executes first boom contact with KC-30A

The RAAF conducts the first air-to-air refuelling boom contact with a pair of KC-30A aircraft. (Defence)
The RAAF conducts its first air-to-air refuelling boom contact with a pair of KC-30s. (Defence)

Two KC-30A crews have completed the first boom contact by the aircraft in RAAF service.

The first KC-30’s crew deployed the 17-metre-long Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) to make 14 successful contacts with the refuelling receptacle of a second KC-30 during a three-hour flight out of RAAF Base Amberley southwest of Brisbane on May 13.

No fuel was transferred between the aircraft.

The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) stated in March that the KC-30 project – AIR 5402 – had been removed from the Projects of Concern list, after an extensive development and testing program led to issues that were previously identified with the introduction of the ARBS being resolved.

“More training flights are being flown to ensure aircrew are experienced with the operation of the ARBS,” said Air Vice-Marshal Gavin Turnbull, Air Commander Australia. “We will shortly begin training flights with the KC-30A using its ARBS to refuel the E-7A Wedgetail.

“The KC-30A has already been cleared to refuel other aircraft in flight with its hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, which are mounted beneath the wings. The refuelling pods have been used to great effect in Operation OKRA by refuelling RAAF Hornets and Super Hornets over Iraq, as well as coalition strike aircraft.”

The ARBS is capable of offloading fuel at a rate of 4,500 litres per minute, and is also compatible with the C-17 Globemaster. In the future, the boom will be used to refuel the F-35 Lightning II and P-8 Poseidon.


Australian Aviation

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