Interesting pictures show RAAF KC-30A tanker refueling USAF B-52 strategic bomber


By Dario Leone
Oct 16 2017
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This KC-30 air-to-air refueling with the B-52 is part of the tests conducted by RAAF Air Warfare Centre’s Flight Test Program

Taken this past September in the skies over California, the interesting picture in this post show a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport refueling a B-52 Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).

As explained by Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs, in the article Allies in the sky, the test sortie was conducted by members of the RAAF Air Warfare Centre Aircraft Research and Development Unit, 86 Wing and the 418th and 419th Flight Test Squadrons.

Air-to-air refueling of a B-52 significantly increases the aircraft’s range, making it capable of carrying heavy payloads further.

Tests with the B-52 are one part of the RAAF Air Warfare Centre’s Flight Test Program. The ongoing testing with the KC-30A is part of a Coalition Tanker Aerial Refueling Certification effort. The first flight in the series of tests was Dec. 3, 2015, when the KC-30 refueled an Edwards F-16 Fighting Falcon.

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As we have already explained seeing a B-52 refueling from a non-U.S. tanker is quite a rare sight given that BUFFs typically refuel from USAF KC-135 and KC-10 tankers.

The Australian KC-30 is a multi-role tanker transport based on the Airbus A330 commercial aircraft, which has been militarized, turned into a tanker, and has 270 passenger seats.

Interesting pictures show RAAF KC-30A tanker refueling USAF B-52 strategic bomber

According to the RAAF, the Australian military operates five KC-30A MRTTs with two more joining the fleet in 2018. The KC-30A has a fuel capacity of more than 100 tons allowing it to fly up to 1800 kilometers from its home base and offload up to 50 tons of fuel for four hours.

Photo credit: Donald R. Allen / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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