In a first for the Royal Australian Air Force, one of its multi-role tanker transports conducted an air-to-air refuelling exercise with a military plane from a foreign country.
During a training exercise called Boom Camp, held at an RAAF base in Darwin from Oct. 25 to 30 earlier this year, the Australian tanker conducted the refuel with a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) tanker.
According to Airforce Technology, "the two countries operate variants of Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft, which features hose-and-drogue refuelling pods and an advanced refuelling boom system."
Air-to-air refuelling allows aircraft to carry out their operations with an increased range.
Important learning experience
A news release from the Australian Department of Defence mentioned that historically, Singaporean and Australian tanker crews have trained together in Australia at Exercise Pitch Black and Bersama Five Power Defence Arrangements exercises in Singapore and Malaysia.
However, Exercise Pitch Black was cancelled this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
RAAF Flight Lieutenant Nicolas Barnes said the event provided an important opportunity for the RAAF and RSAF to share knowledge and operational experiences, as "operators of the same aircraft type".
Lieutenant Colonel Cheng Li Seng said the training was "valuable" as not only was it an opportunity to gain experience, it also allowed crews to strengthen their interpersonal ties. He added:
"As a small country with limited airspace available for training, we are especially grateful to the RAAF and to the Australian Government for their consistent and strong support in allowing the RSAF to continue to deploy to Darwin amidst the COVID-19 pandemic."
The two air forces also had a friendly exchange on Twitter to mark the occasion.
It was our pleasure! https://t.co/wMRPkm63hz— The RSAF (@TheRSAF) November 17, 2020
Top image from RAAF Twitter page.