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#2524 2008-05-07 04:25 GMT-5 hours    
Hi all,
What is the reason to refuel another tanker in flight? Is it being refueled to extend the range or as gas to be offloaded to other planes? These two great photos by Talbert made me a little curious:

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-Ray

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#2525 2008-05-08 15:23 GMT-5 hours    
Hi,

One major reason I would suggest is practice. A2A refueling is a demanding task of a pilot a requires a decent amount of skill, especially with large airframes.

I cannot speak for the KC-10, but the KC-135 cannot always use the supply of fuel it is carrying for it's own consumption. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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#2526 2008-05-09 14:22 GMT-5 hours    
Ray,

The answer to that is all of the above. Having been a KC-135 Crew Chief, and therefore been on a good few missions myself, I can answer that honestly. I recall one mission, we flew alongside a KC-10 and four F-15Es from Lajes Field back to the U.S. We would offload to the KC-10, who in turn offloaded to the F-15Es in transit over the Atlantic.

Other times, it is in fact to give some tankers a range boost. On deployments for example, if a KC-10 or ARR-capable KC-135 is carrying cargo for their own support equipment, they won't take off with enough fuel to reach their destination--much like any cargo or combat aircraft, they'll refuel once airborne so as to have sufficient range to reach their destination.

Then, there is the ever-important practice...which speaks for itself. Hope this answers your question sufficiently, sir.

Jaysen F. Snow
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Everett, Washington, USA

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#2539 2008-05-12 04:53 GMT-5 hours    
Thanks Jaysen, that explains it all. I had actually thought about extending the range of the tanker, but then figured that the fighters don't use the same type of fuel as the tankers. I thought it was JP-4 for the tankers and JP-7 for the fighters. No?

Also, are they able to consume the gas they are carrying in the hold for the fighters? Then again, the issue of the different flavors comes to mind.

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#2703 2008-07-06 16:23 GMT-5 hours    
I cant say for KC-135's and KC-10 but our CC-130 and A310 MRTT have interconnected tanks. The aux tank in the cargo bay of the Hercules sends fuel to the Herc's main tanks then off to CF-18's. They also use the same fuel. JP-7 was carried by a specially modified KC-135Q to fuel the SR-71. JP-4 was replaced in the early 90's by JP-8.

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#5603 2011-08-31 13:58 GMT-5 hours    
Our Canadian friend nailed it right on the head...it is the same with the KC-135 and will be the same in the KC-46, all fuel is interconnected, it can either be transferred or consumed by the tanker.

Jaysen F. Snow
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#5604 2011-09-01 16:57 GMT-5 hours    
Think also of the 1982 raid(s) on the Falkland Islands where the RAF flew their "Black Buck" missions. It took 15 Victor tankers and 17 in-flight refuellings to get a Vulcan there for one bombing run. Victors refuelled Victors and Vulcans to get one Victor and Vulcan to the final refuelling bracket... epic... For those interested in the story, a great book has been published on this: "Vulcan 607" - ISBN: 978-0-552-15229-7. Great stuff and as a non native English speaker, I finished it in 3 evenings (nights, 523 pages pocket bond)...

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