Military Logistics

USMC refuels F-35B in under ten minutes

24th February 2020 - 14:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The US Marine Corps has refuelled F-35B Lightning II aircraft in five minutes using the tactical aviation ground refuelling system (TAGRS).

The refuelling was carried out at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma as part of a forward arming and refuelling point operation (FARP). A FARP is set up by a support squadron and can have one or several distributive fuel points across a landing zone that enable aircraft to land and obtain both fuel and ordnance during a mission.

The TAGRS includes all refuelling components in one compact system allowing for rapid setup and breakdown to support expeditionary advanced base operations in austere environments.The system can pump fuel faster than the helicopter expedient refuelling system, and has four filter separators to filter out water and sediment, along with two points and two fire extinguishers. As a result, a FARP can be established using a single TARGS and a fuel source. The system also requires half the manpower to operate than it normally would to conduct a FARP operation.  

In this operation, the TAGRS team succeeded in reducing a one-point FARP establishment time by 90 percent and the total refuelling time by 50 percent, with refuelling of each F-35B Lightning II reduced to under ten minutes.

The system and its operators are capable of being air-inserted making the asset expeditionary. It effectively eliminates the complications of embarkation and transportation of gear to the landing zone.

Sgt Steve Anderson, bulk fuel specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, said: ‘What makes this system so unique is its mobility. We can pack the entire system in the back of a trailer and tow it into MV-22 Ospreys, CH-53 Super Stallions or KC-130J Super Hercules, and drop it into an austere environment to extend the area of operations for aircraft so that they can attack further inland or pierce directly into the heart of the enemy.’

‘We’re able to employ the entire system, maintain good radio communication –with not just the pilots but internally within the TAGRS team as well, provide limited security, and sustain the entire FARP operation.’

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