Tankers play a major role during real ops and large drills. Like BALTOPS 2014.
One of the KC-135s equipped with flying boom, refueled some of the 18 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, deployed to Lask Air Base, Poland.
The other Stratotanker refueled Swedish Air Force JAS 39 Gripens by means of the hose released by the underwing pods. The so-called hose and drogue system is used for aircraft equipped with the IFR (In Flight Refueling) probe (U.S. Navy standard) whereas the rigid, telescoping tube with movable flight control surfaces (the “boom”) is used to refuel those aircraft equipped with the U.S. Air Force standard AAR (Air-to-Air Refueling) receptacle.
Noteworthy, the U.S. planes depicted in the footage carry (dummy) missiles, whilst Swedish Gripens are unarmed.
H/T to Lars-Gunnar Holmstrom for the heads-up