Atlas Refuels Flankers

SHAH ALAM: Atlas Refuels Flanker. RMAF has published pictures of an Airbus A400M Atlas refueling a Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker, on its Facebook page.

This was the first time, RMAF had shown the compatibility of the Flanker with the A400M Chobham’s refueling pods although Malaysian Defence had reported that Flanker had been cleared with the Boeing Super Hornet F/A-18D Hornet and BAE Systems Hawk 208 to perform AAR on the Atlas.

RMAF Atlas conducting air to air refueling with a Flanker. RMAF

From RMAF.

In-flight refueling is the process of transferring aviation fuel from one military aircraft to another during flight.
Tactical locations are often long distances from supporting airfields, which means aircraft may require refueling midflight. Operating a specialized from A400M, In-flight Refueling Specialist pump jet fuel into aircraft in need of fuel. These highly trained experts must have a steady hand and nerves in order to complete this remarkable and crucial task so we can continue to successfully complete all of our missions.

“Enroute In-flight Refuelling performed by Su30MKM from No 11 Sqn over South China Sea in support of East Malaysia Operation.”

Over the sea and far away. RMAF

The air to air refueling picture was taken as six Flankers from the 11th Squadron flew from the Gong Kedak airbase to Labuan airbase together with the Atlas. It is conceivable that some of the Flanker drivers need to be certified with air to air refueling hence it was performed underway.

As a single Flanker takes fuel from the Atlas, four others formed up on both. It is likely the sixth Flanker was the photo aircraft. RMAF.

The Flankers, according to RMAF, are in Labuan for their annual live firing exercise at the Kota Belud air to ground range. The exercise, not named, starts from July 28 to August 9, according to RMAF. RMAF said the firing exercise – air to air as well as air to ground – will also involved the Hornets. The A400M will also be used together with the C-130H Hercules for transport and supply though for AAR, it will be done solely by the Atlas. The Beechcraft B200T will be used for range clearance, together with ships from the RMN and APMM, likely for the air to air firings.

Hornet firing its 20mm gun at Kota Belud range in November, 2017.

It is unclear what kind of ordnance will be used during the exercise though missiles are likely to be used during the air to air phase. The last time I went to the Kota Belud range the Flankers dropped Russian general purpose bombs, the Hornets 20mm guns and the Hawks, rockets.

–Malaysian Defence

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