HomeNewsArticle Display

Forces join together to fuel the coalition

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Aircrew from KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing stand ready to pump fuel to the flightline of a forward-deployed base located in the Mediterranean region.  The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force joined forces at an RAF base here to set up a refueling mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Aircrew from KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing stand ready to pump fuel to the flightline of a forward-deployed base located in the Mediterranean region. The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force joined forces at an RAF base here to set up a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing sit ready on the flightline of a forward-deployed base located in the Mediterranean region.  The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force joined forces at an RAF base here to set up a refueling mission.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- KC-135 Stratotankers assigned to the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing sit ready on the flightline of a forward-deployed base located in the Mediterranean region. The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force joined forces at an RAF base here to set up a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Mark Bucher)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- The U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force have joined forces at an RAF base in the Eastern Mediterranean to set up a refueling mission.

A refueling system was needed that was more efficient than refueling aircraft by fuel trucks, according to RAF Warrant Officer 2nd Class Paul Lelliott, who oversees the coalition fuel operation.

"We also needed to be able to refuel multiple aircraft simultaneously," he said.

To solve this problem, Royal Engineers from the British Army built an intricate system to collect U.K. fuel from barges that pass through the Mediterranean. The system pumps fuel from a barge through a series of pipelines into a fuel bladder close to the flightline. Aircraft maintenance and fuel specialists from the United States and the United Kingdom use the fuel to fill up Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers.

Stratotankers have been the main refueling aircraft in the Air Force inventory for more than 40 years and are still carrying the lion's share.

"The refueling going on here has really been impressive to watch," said Maj. Eric Sutcliffe, 401st Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron commander, who oversees the U.S. Air Force contingent of 18 people in the fuels flight. "The (equipment) was mostly designed for refueling helicopters but has been working for our tanker fleet. The entire operation has been a seamless integration, and we couldn't be happier."

The equipment has been performing well above anyone's expectations, according to Lelliot. With the ability to pump more than 2.7 million liters of fuel into any type of aircraft in a 24-hour period, the system has made its mark on the war, Lelliot said. So far, more than 45 million liters of fuel have been piped through the system to the tankers.

Once the fuel is down the pipeline, fuel specialists take over.

"We're responsible for inspecting the (aircraft) fuel tanks and making sure they're completely refueled," said Staff Sgt. Jake Way of the 186th Air Refueling Wing at Meridian, Miss., who is deployed to the 401st Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

The KC-135 can hold 209,000 pounds of fuel, but for this operation, it is typically filled with 150,000 pounds of fuel. That can refuel 10 to 15 aircraft, Way said.

The squadron airmen are also responsible for attaching a drogue to a KC-135 if it will be needed for a refueling mission. The drogue system is one of the three capabilities the 401st AEW has for refueling. The multi-point refueling system, the boom-drogue assembly and the hard boom allow for aerial refueling of any type of aircraft in the U.S. or allied inventory.

Refuelers take the fuel to fighters before they enter Iraq. FA-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats are assigned to both the USS Harry S. Truman and USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carriers stationed in the Mediterranean.

"On the northern Iraqi front, we've stepped up operations, which requires an increased number of (refuelers)," said Marine Maj. Bret Saunders, an FA-18 fighter pilot stationed on the USS Harry S. Truman. "Being able to handle this increased ops tempo is based mainly on our ability to get fuel. We need the capability to go long distances, have tactical ability and speed in order to come back successfully."

This would not be possible if the aircraft were not able to top off the fuel tanks before entering northern Iraq, he said.

The mission also would not be possible without the cooperation between American and British forces.

"We've established a fantastic working relationship between the services," said Lelliott. "We kind of have a 'hodge podge' of people, but we work like a well-oiled machine."

"We have more combat power in the Mediterranean right now than we did in all of World War II," said Vice Admiral Scott Fry, U.S. Navy 6th Fleet commander. "We're making history here. Your children will read about this operation in their history books one day." (Courtesy of U.S. Air Forces in Europe News Service)

Engage

Twitter
#FollowFriday: The 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff @GenCQBrownJr https://t.co/UOG0JDKTVJ
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: On #PurpleHeartDay we honor and remember the members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were wounded in combat or paid the ulti…
Twitter
.@GenDaveGoldfein retired from active duty and passed on the duty of Air Force Chief of Staff to @GenCQBrownJr. https://t.co/AdlykogVjZ
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr's tenets of leadership: - Execute at a high standard - Be disciplined in execution - Pay attention… https://t.co/9EmCYue0OO
Twitter
RT @AirMobilityCmd: We are incredibly proud of our #TotalForce #MobilityAirmen and their support to ongoing relief efforts in #Lebanon. Del…
Twitter
Today, we salute the #heroes, wounded or killed in action, who have served our country. #PurpleHeartDay https://t.co/4yHljdUaNf
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: I’m blessed to have Sharene by my side & the support of our sons, Sean & Ross. She has committed so much to our family &…
Twitter
RT @CENTCOM: Gen McKenzie informed Gen Aoun of the impending delivery of three C-17s shipments of U.S. relief supplies including food, wate…
Twitter
RT @AFResearchLab: Tune into @hack_a_sat all weekend to watch in the 3D environment, and participate in the @DefenseDigital workshops, made…
Twitter
"I could not be prouder that a true warrior, leader, and personal friend will be taking his first Walk of the Chief… https://t.co/OEIDekSFyo
Twitter
"Of all the blessings of serving as the 21st Chief, the best, by far, has been having the chance to do so side by s… https://t.co/LhEkaVhr5o
Twitter
"This is a very historic day for our Nation & I don't take this moment lightly. Today is possible due to the persev… https://t.co/bAzAQJ6o8l
Twitter
RT @MilitaryHealth: Have you been diagnosed with #COVID19? The @DeptofDefense urges you to donate your convalescent blood plasma when you a…
Twitter
“This is one we’ve been working on for a while, and I’m glad we could get it across the finish line.” - @CMSAF18 https://t.co/xtVu5BQuWW
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein Working together & accelerating change, I'm confident that our @usairforce can continue to b…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein You can expect my leadership will be framed by the same four tenants I've used throughout my…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein To do so, we must no longer defer, but must accelerate the needed change & tough choices we'…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein Building on @GenDaveGoldfein's 3 focus areas, I'm committed to addressing today's challenges…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein It's due to their trials & tribulations in #BreakingBarriers that I can address you today as…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: @usairforce @GenDaveGoldfein Those like the #TuskegeeAirmen, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Chappie James, African-American lead…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,261,721
Follow Us