KC-10 Extenders successfully refuel C-17s
Three US Air Force (USAF) KC-10 Extenders have refuelled five C-17 Globemaster III aircraft carrying over 300 coalition paratroopers across the Pacific Ocean, the USAF announced on 19 July.
The three tanker aircraft flew from Hawaii and Wake Island Airfield to complete the refuelling process.
After the refuelling, the C-17s continued flying to Australia to conduct Exercise Ultimate Reach, a strategic airdrop mission. The aerial refuelling also supported Exercise Talisman Saber conducted between US, Canadian and Australian forces in Australia. The training focuses on improving interoperability and relations between the three countries.
During Talisman Sabre the KC-10s refuelled various aircraft over the Pacific Ocean including US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets.
In addition to aerial refuelling, the KC-10 can also carry up to 75 passengers and nearly 170,000 pounds of cargo. This allows the aircraft to airlift personnel and equipment while refuelling supporting aircraft en-route. The KC-10 aircraft can fly 4,400 miles on its own without refuelling, and can also receive mid-air refuel from other KC-10s and extend its range.
The tanker's combined six fuel tanks can carry more than 356,000lbs of fuel in-flight. This allows the aircraft to complete missions like Ultimate Reach where over 4,000lbs of fuel was offloaded to the five waiting C-17s. The amount is almost twice as much as the KC-135 Stratotanker.
According to the USAF, Ultimate Reach and Talisman Saber exercise highlighted the KC-10 fleet as a fighting force, demonstrating the aircraft's capabilities over a wide-array of locations, receivers and flying patterns.
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