A FARP is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another
According to the commander of 493rd Fighter Squadron, Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, this is the first time any MC-130 variant had done a FARP with a F-15C. “This was the first ever FARP between any MC-130 variant and an F-15C. It was important because it helped to prove the concept of integrating the FARP capabilities of the MC-130 with the F-15C. This capability could provide improved flexibility for future operations,” he said.
Exercise Rapid Eagle saw two MC-130Js from the 67th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) flying into RAF Lakenheath to pick up F-15C maintenance crews and armament supplies. The airmen were dropped off at RAF Mildenhall after which the MC-130Js proceed to a FARP location to refuel four F-15Cs.
A FARP is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another.
“The FARP gives us the ability to ground refuel fixed wing, tilt-rotor and rotor assets,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Nighbert, 67th SOS operations superintendent.
As explained by A1C Luke Milano, 352 SOW Public Affairs, in the article Three UK-based wings conduct first-time FARP exercise, because of its nature, the drill included the involvement of three separate wings: the 48th Fighter Wing (FW), 352d Special Operations Wing (SOW) and 100th Air Refueling Wing (ARW), each having their own part to play in the overall success of the exercise.
The 100th ARW supplied the FARP hose deployment personnel from the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Having a FARP capability plays an important role for deployed aircraft in austere locations by allowing U.S. forces to shorten the amount of time needed to return to the mission.
“This allows our air assets to engage the enemy, get refueled, rearmed and get back to the fight quickly,” said Maj. John Kauzlaric, 67th SOS combat systems officer. “It doesn’t require us to have a fully manned base, which allows for more flexibility.”
This was also the first time the 67th SOS performed FARP with a fixed-wing fighter aircraft, added Kauzlaric.
As explained by Zumwalt the drill has been a success. “Exercises like this help increase our ability to integrate our capabilities and train our Airmen in unfamiliar tasks,” he pointed out.
The success of Rapid Eagle holds promise for forthcoming exercises and missions using the MC-130J and F-15C.
“In the future, we look at expanding to a bigger scale exercise that is more complex, and eventually use in combat operations,” said Kauzlaric.
Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Luke Milano / U.S. Air Force