A show of Air-to-Air refueling 

By: News Desk
Published: 12:29 AM, 22 Jan, 2023
A show of Air-to-Air refueling 
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A 43-second clip, showing the Air-to-Air refuelling of two F/A-18 Hornets, has gone viral on social media.  

For the first time ever, the US Navy has demonstrated air-to-air refuelling using two F/A-18 Hornets aircraft.

During a test flight, a F/A-18 Hornet successfully extended the hose and drogue from its US Navy-issued aerial refuelling store (ARS) and safely transferred jet fuel to another US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, demonstrating the F/A-18's ability to carry out its primary aerial refuelling mission.

"This history-making event is a credit to the Navy team that is all-in on delivering two F/A-18 Hornets with critical aerial refuelling capability to the fleet as soon as possible. 

During the initial part of the flight, the F/A-18 test pilot flew in close formation behind the F/A-18 to ensure performance and stability prior to refuelling – a manoeuvre that required as little as 20ft between the two giants air vehicles refuelling probe.

Both aircraft were flying at operationally relevant speeds and altitudes. With the evaluation safely completed, one jet was extended, and the other F/A-18 pilot moved in to ‘plug’ with the aircraft and receive the scheduled fuel offload.

Aerial refuelling, also referred to as air refuelling, in-flight refuelling (IFR), air-to-air refuelling (AAR), and tanking, is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one aircraft (the tanker) to another (the receiver) while both aircraft are in flight. The two main refuelling systems are probe-and-drogue, which is simpler to adapt to existing aircraft, and the flying boom, which offers faster fuel transfer, but requires a dedicated boom operator station.

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet entered fleet service in 1999, as the replacement for the F-14 Tomcat. The Super Hornet is the second major model upgrade since the inception of the F/A-18 aircraft program highly capable across the full mission spectrum: air superiority, fighter escort, reconnaissance, aerial refuelling, close air support, air defense suppression and day/night precision strike. 

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