US helicopters use auxiliary fuel tanks
The US Marine Corps has extended the range of AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom helicopters with new auxiliary fuel tanks during flights in Okinawa, Japan.
Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 is deployed to Okinawa from Camp Pendleton, California.
The auxiliary fuel tanks gave the helicopters a 25 percent range increase, with one helicopter logging 314 nautical miles during a flight from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, to New Tanegashima Airport, Japan. According to the commanding officer of HMLA-267, this is the longest recorded Venom or Viper flight ever.
The fuel tanks, which resemble torpedoes, attach below both sides of the helicopter bays. Once the H-1 helicopters arrive at their destinations, they can drop their fuel tanks and reconfigure for ordnance operations. The increased range of the H-1 helicopters supports marine corps operations in responding to crises, maintaining a deterrent, forward presence, carrying out combat operations, and providing humanitarian assistance.
Capt Christopher Millar, a UH-1Y Venom pilot with HMLA-267, said: 'The auxiliary fuel capability gives the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) commander the ability to respond to crises and deploy our forces from the most northern reaches to southern reaches of the area of operations.
'The auxiliary fuel systems provide the MAGTF commander scalable options to be able to move his assets around the area of operations without relying on strategic lift.'
During the four-day mission, the squadron also visited Osaka, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, and Camp Fuji, Japan.
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