Recently, the RAAF completed its first round of air-to-air refueling trials.
According to an article published by Australian Defence Business Review on October 22, 2020:
The tests were conducted over seven flights in designated airspace off the Queensland coast from September 22 to October 1 using the MRTT’s fuselage-mounted boom and the P-8A’s UARRSI (Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation).
“The execution of air-to-air refuelling requires extensive planning and training in both the simulator and airborne environment,” P-8A captain, SQNLDR Chris Godfrey said in a release. “This included rigorous training scenarios to ensure we were ready for the demanding aerial refuelling flights.
“Fundamentally, it’s a team effort both in the air and on the ground,” he added. “This included our 11SQN maintenance personnel who worked long hours over the past couple of months to ensure the serviceability of the aircraft for the aerial refuelling flights.”
Officer Commanding 92WG GPCAPT John Grime said the missions were an important capability outcome. “The missions represent a significant achievement for the RAAF P-8A fleet on our path to final operational capability,” he said. “It enhances the existing operational effectiveness of the aircraft’s long-range surveillance capabilities, extending the endurance and radius of action of the platform.”
Once the clearance program is complete, it will provide a significant capability enhancement to the P-8A’s already impressive range and endurance.
And in the video below, the operation is highlighted.
A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its first air-to-air refuelling missions in partnership with a KC-30A Multi-role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Seven flights from September 22 to October 1 involved the KC-30A departing its home-base at RAAF Base Amberley and establishing contact with the P-8A Poseidon from RAAF Base Edinburgh’s No. 92 Wing.
Using the 11-metre Advanced Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) mounted on the KC-30A, the refuelling contact between the two aircraft was made in designated training airspace off the coast of Queensland.
The missions represent a significant milestone for the RAAF P-8A fleet as it enhances the existing operational effectiveness of the aircraft’s long-range surveillance capabilities – extending the endurance and radius of action of the platform.
The strong partnership with 33SQN KC-30A personnel and capabilities demonstrates the ability to collaborate and integrate 5th generation capabilities – strengthening Air Force’s air power contribution for the joint force.