Video: KC-130 tactical refueler escorts four MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor planes from Afghanistan to USS Iwo Jima

The following video shows a U.S. Marine Corps KC-130J belonging to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 escorting four MV-22 Ospreys belonging with the Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 from Helmand province, Afghanistan, to the USS Iwo Jima in the Arabian Sea.

The footage shows the four MV-22s flying in a loose echelon formation: formation flying, in airplane mode, requires the aircraft to maintain a minimum cockpit-to-cockpit separation of 250 ft along the bearing line. With less than 50 ft step up/down, pilots should avoid lead aircrafts’ 5-7 O’clock to prevent wake interaction, a serious flight safety issue that can result in an uncontrollable roll and consequent crash.

Dealing with the KC-130J, it is a tactical asset with the unique capability to be able to refuel either combat planes, helicopters (HAAR – Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling) and tilt-rotor aircraft.

Unlike strategic tankers, that can accompany and refuel trailing planes on long-range ferry flights, the Hercules is suited for round-trip AAR missions within 1,000 miles from the departure airport. At that distance the KC-130J can dispense over 45,000 lbs of fuel to its receivers.

It is also capable of doing it at night, being certified for NVG (Night Vision Goggles) operations.

About David Cenciotti 3794 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.