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One of the famend plane within the Air Power’s fleet, the CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor plane combines the vertical flight qualities of a helicopter with the gas effectivity and velocity of a set wing airplane. This mixture makes it the perfect plane for conducting infiltration, exfiltration and resupply missions for particular operations forces throughout lengthy distances.
Now, due to pathfinding efforts from the twentieth Particular Operations Squadron and the 349th Air Refueling Squadron, assigned to the twenty second Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Power Base, Kansas, CV-22 aircrews throughout Air Power Particular Operations Command can guarantee their plane’s prolonged vary by calling on Air Power Mobility Command’s latest tanker.
The 20 SOS & 349 ARS introduced a CV-22 and KC-46 Pegasus tanker collectively for in-air refueling coaching over Cannon, June 1, 2022. The flight was the primary time a KC-46 refueled an AFSOC CV-22.
“This being the primary time we operationally refueled with a KC-46, we have been capable of get some good video for coaching and improvement,” stated Maj. Anthony Belviso, the CV-22 plane commander. “We have been additionally capable of get some understanding of what it feels prefer to fly behind the jet, and work on some completely different refueling strategies and practices”
One of many new capabilities the KC-46 brings to the desk is a hose and drogue system in the identical centerline place because it’s refueling increase pipe for fixed-wing plane.
“This functionality permits the KC-46 to the refuel the Osprey and different drogue appropriate receiver plane with none modification,” stated Maj. Benjamin Chase, the KC-46 plane commander. “That is essential as a result of it permits flexibility in mission planning and limits the quantity of upkeep it takes to organize for air refueling, particularly in comparison with most plane within the legacy tanker fleet.”
The KC-46 is just not the one plane the CV-22 can obtain gas from whereas flying. Nonetheless, its superior refueling, communications and defensive methods, vary and huge gas storage capabilities make it a perfect system for getting CV-22s the gas they want, even in or close to contested environments.
“The CV-22 is particularly designed for lengthy vary missions, and whenever you add on prime of that an aerial refueling functionality you’ll be able to prolong that distance to the purpose the place you’re solely restricted by how lengthy the crew is ready to fly,” stated Belviso. “The KC-46 can get sufficient gas to get a number of CV-22s that a lot additional each into and out of fight.”
“The 22 ARW has showcased the potential of the KC-46 to function out of austere areas in current workouts,” stated Chase. “That is distinctive amongst tanker plane, and replicates the forms of environments the KC-46 to function out of when refueling the Osprey in real-world missions.”
One other benefit of CV-22s having the ability to refuel from KC-46s is that it permits for sooner refueling throughout real-world missions.
“Usually, an MC-130J plane must go as much as a tanker to get gas, then fly to us and provides us that gas, and must repeat that course of a number of occasions,” stated Belviso. “As a result of KC-46s can refuel us instantly, we will go straight to them and get every part executed way more rapidly.”
With the profitable coaching mission, each Chase and Belviso stated it will present the info and real-world expertise the Air Power’s KC-46 and CV-22 fleets want to make sure the 2 airframes might work effectively collectively for a very long time to return.
“The refueling of the CV-22 marks one other success in this system,” stated Chase. “It actually paves the way in which for assist of the Osprey and different plane sooner or later.”
“I’m glad we have been capable of get the mission executed for the CV-22 group,” stated Belviso. “I feel this new functionality might be great for us going ahead, so I’m very completely satisfied about that.”