The C-27J successfully performs air-to-air refueling from a Boeing KC-767A tanker

The following images show the first air-to-air refueling tests conducted by an Alenia Aermacchi C-27J with an Italian Air Force’s Boeing KC-767A tanker.

The testing campaign took place at Pratica di Mare airbase, near Rome, in collaboration with the 14° Stormo (Wing), Alenia Aermacchi, Rolls Royce and Dowty, the latter two responsible respectively for the engines and propellers of the aircraft.

The flight tests were conducted at various altitudes, between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, and speed up to 220 knots, and also included night aerial refueling with the aid of Night Vision Goggles as well as plugs with the refueling basket in turbulence and during emergency descent.

The C-27J during AAR as seen from the KC-767 Air Refueling Station

According to Alenia Aermacchi “the preliminary results highlighted the exceptional flying quality of the C-27J, in both the day and night contacts. The test confirmed the high capability of fuel transfer (up to 2800 litersmin) predicted in the planning phase, allowing for a complete replenishment of the tanks in only 5 minutes. Also confirmed during these test was the superior quality of the C-27J as an aircraft receiver also in conditions of slipstream turbulence generated by the tanker.”

The aircraft used for these tests, piloted by Alenia Aermacchi test aircrew, was modified with the integration of a complex instrumentation dedicated to controlling the engine parameters, propellers, transfer of fuel and flight controls, in order to meet the requirements requested by the military certification.

The objective of these test was to achieve the certification of the in-flight refueling system, that has been adopted on the 12 C-27Js in service with the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigade) in Italy and on one of the three examples in service with the Lithuanian Air Force.

Image courtesy: Alenia Aermacchi

Dealing the the KC-767, it proved its flexibility by refueling the Italian cargo plane with the hose and drogue system after it successfully completed buddy refueling tests using the flying boom.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.