For the first time during an exercise, a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft has performed an air-to-air refuelling with a United States Air National Guard A-10C Thunderbolt II.
In the skies over Washington State during Exercise Mobility Guardian 19, the close air support jets, known as ‘the original tank busters’ or ‘Warthog’, connected to the KC-30A boom after recent technical and compatibility assessments.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, often painted with teeth on its nose cone, is designed for close air support.
Sergeant Jerome Farrell, and air refuelling operator from No. 33 Squadron, said USAF KC-135 aircrew had also joined a number of RAAF KC-30 flights.
“It has been great to talk about commonalities and challenges with other boom operators and pilots,” Sergeant Farrell said.
A-10 Thunderbolt IIs ares lined up on the flightline of Tallil Air Base in southern Iraq awaiting pilots. Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Terry L Blevins
Held in Washington State from September 9-27, Exercise Mobility Guardian was conducted by the United States Air Force (USAF) and involved the rehearsal of key air mobility roles.
It included air-to-air refuelling from the KC-30A, aerial delivery of cargo to drop zones by the C-17A Globemaster and aeromedical evacuation training.
Most of the 100 Australian personnel deployed to this exercise were from RAAF Base Amberley.
They joined more than 26 other nations and 60 aircraft.
Colonel Derek Salmi, the United States Air Force (USAF) MG19 Commander, said it was been a great opportunity for valuable training for the RAAF aircrew from No. 33 Squadron and the A-10 pilots.
“We know future fights won’t be fought as individual nations – it will be a coalition effort,” Colonel Salmi said.
“The strength of our air forces can only be measured by our allies and ability to work together.”