As already explained in the previous post about the KC-767, unlike all the previous boom-equipped tankers, the NextGen Tanker uses an adveniristic remote boom operator’s station located behind the cockpit.
Whereas, in the KC-135, the “boomer” (as the operator is nicknamed) is prone and moves the flying boom in the receptacle watching the receiver through a rear observation window, in the KC-767 and future KC-46 that will replace the KC-135E in the U.S. Air Force, the operators, move the boom using a joystick and watching the video from a series of cameras mounted on the tanker’s fuselage.
The advanced camera system feeds a Remote Vision System (RVS) that provides high-definition stereoscopic imagery to the vision goggles attached to a sort-of flight helmet worn by the boomer during the air-to-air refueling.
Below, the images taken on board the Italian Air Force KC-767 belonging to the 14° Stormo, based at Pratica di Mare, during an aerial refueling mission on Mar. 16, 2012.
- If you thought an aerial tanker’s “flying boom” was rigid, you better watch this video (theaviationist.com)
- Belgian Air Force F-16s refueling from U.S. tanker over Afghanistan. With boom operator’s audio (and some wasted fuel…) (theaviationist.com)