The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has conducted air-to-air refuelling training with The Indonesian Air Force for the first time, reflecting the close and positive relationship between the regional partners. A team of 21 Australian aviators from Royal Australian Air Force No.33 Squadron trained with the Indonesian Air Force F-16 pilots out of Denpasar Airport earlier this month. The Australian pilots used a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft alongside Indonesian F-16 fighter aircraft in an activity that enhanced the Royal Australian Air Force’s own air mobility skills. The Royal Australian Air Force’s seven KC-30A aircraft are based at RAAF Base Amberley.
Officer Commanding No.86 Wing, Group Captain Brent Taylor said,“The Australian pilots used a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft alongside Indonesian F-16 fighter aircraft in an activity that enhanced RAAF’s own air mobility skills. Australia is one of a small number of nations to have conducted refuelling training with Indonesian aircraft, boosting our interoperability with an important regional partner. Our aviators developed their skillsets in working with a partner nation to deliver air-to-air refuelling capability, which is essential for aircraft to cross greater distances and remain within a battlespace for longer, without the need to land. The training has provided Indonesian Air Force F-16 pilots with valued air-to-air refuelling currency.”
A total of 60 the Indonesian Air Force F-16 sorties were flown with the Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A during the training event, achieving 200 successful refuelling boom contacts. Flying in Indonesian airspace, the activity involved the KC-30A deploying its Advanced Refuelling Boom System to connect a refuelling receptacle on each Indonesian F-16 Fighting Falcon. This training also benefits Australia and Indonesia with regular bilateral and multilateral air exercises between the countries, including Exercises Elang AUSINDO and Pitch Black. The air-to-air refuelling (AAR) Currency Event 2023 was held from 6 to 12 August 2023.
The KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is a heavily modified Airbus A330 airliner that allows the Royal Australian Air Force to conduct air-to-air refuelling and provide strategic air lift. It features advanced communication and navigation systems, and an electronic warfare self-protection system for shielding against threats from surface-to-air missiles. The KC-30A can carry a fuel load of more than 100 tonnes, and transfer part of that load to compatible aircraft, including: F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18F Super Hornets, E/A-18G Growlers, E-7A Wedgetails, C-17A Globemaster III, P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft and foreign aircraft such as the F-16C Fighting Falcon and B-1B Lancer.