Mali Air War: Aerial Refueling Operations

Feb 12 2013 - 2 Comments

Although it’s in French language, the following video released by the French MoD is quite interesting as it shows the FAF C-135FR refueling ops from N’Djamena, Chad.

The French tanker are quite similar to the U.S. KC-135s. Still, the refueling boom is attached to a basket since FAF planes use the hose and drogue system and get the fuel through a probe.

The footage lets you see the Mirage 2000s and Rafale Air supporting Operation Serval being refueled on their way to the target area in northern Mali.

Mirage 2000 refuel

As happened in Libya, the Mali Air War is suffering from tanker shortage. Even if only a few combat planes are involved in the air strikes, the French Air Force is not equipped with a tanker force capable to sustain a limited amount of attack sorties.

That’s why the U.S. has dispatched some of its KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall and other nations have offered aerial refuelers.

The Italian Air Force has qualified both the French Mirage 2000, Mirage F1CR and Rafale jets as receivers for its Boeing KC-767 during a certification campaign at Mont-de-Marsan: the brand new tanker can now be dispatched to West Africa to support the French air campaign against rebels.

KC-767 qual campaign

Image credit: FAF

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Zaphod58

    It makes me so mad to see former USAF KC-135s flying for other countries. I had to sit and watch while fighters that broke sat for weeks waiting for a tanker to be available to get them to where they were going, because they were all busy on other missions. And then they sell a bunch of them to other countries.

  • Thomas Wiegold

    FYI, the German MoD announced today that a French fighter aircraft – they didn’t specify which one, but it’s probably the Rafale – has qualified for AAR with the German A310MRTT. However, to send the tanker on the mission, the MoD has to wait for parliament approval, expected late February.