The Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) and the NATO E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleets have concluded the first part of their Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) test campaign. The in-flight tests performed will provide the technical and operational AAR clearances to certify the NATO AWACS to execute air-to-air refueling missions from an MMF aircraft. The Allied E-3A aircraft is the first heavy receiver pairing up with NATO’s MRTT. The campaign is led by the Royal Netherlands Air Force Test Organisation, with active participation of the United States Air Force, which supports the AWACS unit with experimental test pilots.
Air-to-air refueling is a critical capability for NATO forces in operations that require long-range air missions. The Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF)’s 111 tons basic fuel capacity enables the aircraft to excel in air-to-air refueling missions, eliminating the requirement for additional fuel tanks. Upon successful completion of the tests, and once the certification is received from the respective Military Airworthiness Authorities, the MMF fleet will be able to refuel both NATO AWACS E-3A’s and the U.S. Air Force E-3G’s, thus enhancing overall NATO’s operational capability.