List of tanker aircraft
This is a list of tanker aircraft used for aerial refueling of another craft while in flight.
- Looped hose
- The first commercial method employed a hose which was held slack in a trailing half-loop behind both aircraft. The receiving aircraft flew just below the tanker and deployed a steel line, which the tanker caught with its own grappling line and drew in. The tanker then connected the first steel line to the refueling hose and paid it out as the receiving aircraft reeled it back in.
- The tanker trails a flexible hose with a stabilising drogue on the end and the receiving aircraft manoeuvers to insert a short probe into the receptacle in the drogue.
- Flying boom
- The tanker extends a hinged telescopic boom with aerodynamic control surfaces on its end. An operator "flies" it to match up with a receptacle on the receiving aircraft, which then moves forwards to make the connection.
- A hybrid method in which the tanker trails a flexible hose from a wing and the receiving aircraft catches it in a hooked receptacle under one of its own wings.
- Buddy refueling
- An aircraft type is fitted with both supply and receiving hardware, so that one aircraft can refuel another of the same type.
These images illustrate various aerial refueling methods.
List of aircraft
|Airbus A310 MRTT||A310||France/Germany||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||6||2 for Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), as CC-150T Polaris|
|Airbus A330 MRTT||Airbus A330-200||Spain||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||In RAF service it is exclusively hose-and-drogue and is known as Voyager KC2 and KC3, with limitations such as; no self-refueling capability and only the KC3 model (five on order) is fitted with a fuselage mounted high capacity hose-and-drogue system. Australian, Emirati and Saudi operators have a refueling boom in addition to wing mounted hose-and-drogue.|
|Airbus A330 MRTT||Airbus A330-200||Flying boom||Production|
|Airco DH.4||US||Propeller||Gravity flow hose||1923||US Army Air Service Trials|
|Avro Vulcan K.2||Vulcan||UK||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Operational||Saw action in the Falklands War|
|Blackburn Buccaneer||UK||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Production||Buddy refueling.|
|Boeing 707||Boeing 367-80||US||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Variants: Colombian Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker with Multi-Point Refueling System PODS. 2 for RCAF as CC-137 Husky.|
|Boeing 767||US||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Conversion by IAI. FAC, a 767-200ER fitted with two ARP3 refueling pods under the wings, and cargo door.|
|Boeing KB-29M||B-29 Superfortress||US||Propeller||Probe-and-drogue||earlier versions used a "grappling hose" system; later models used a true probe-and-drogue.|
|Boeing KB-50||B-50 Superfortress||US||Propeller||Probe-and-drogue||an improved model of the B-29 Superfortress.|
|Boeing KB-29P||B-29 Superfortress||Flying boom|
|Boeing KB-50||B-50 Superfortress||Flying boom||a B-29 derivative|
|Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter||C-97 Stratofreighter||Flying boom||another B-29 Superfortress descendant|
|Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker||Boeing 367-80||Flying boom||Production||Boom can be fitted preflight with a drogue adapter. AdlA KC-135 Stratotankers use the probe-and-drogue system. MPRS models will have two drogue hose reels (pods) at the wingtips.|
|Boeing 747||747-100||Flying boom||4||KC-33A a modified Boeing 747 which lost in the USAF bidding competition to the KC-10 Extender. 4 sold to Iran.|
|Boeing KC-767||Boeing 767-200ER||Flying boom||Production||With cockpit updates was (eventually) the winning entry in the USAF KC-X competition.|
|Boeing KC-46 Pegasus||767-200ER||Flying boom||Production||USAF designation for Boeing's updated winning KC-767 entry.|
|Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet||US||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Equipped for buddy refueling as "Strike tankers". Taking over tanking duties as the S-3 is retired from service.|
|Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard||France||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling|
|Dassault Rafale||France||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling.|
|de Havilland Sea Vixen||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling.|
|Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior||US||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Dedicated tanker variant of the Skywarrior. Primary US Navy tanker from the Vietnam War until retirement prior to Desert Storm.|
|Douglas A-4 Skyhawk||US||Jet||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling.|
|Douglas C-1||US||Propeller||Gravity flow hose||1929|
|Embraer KC-390||Probe-and-drogue||Cobham air-to-air refuelling system|
|Grumman KA-6D Intruder||Probe-and-drogue||Dedicated tanker variant of the Intruder. Attack variants of the A-6 also capable of buddy tanking|
|Handley Page Type W||Type W||UK||Biplane||Looped hose||1935||Operational||1||Early trials and demonstrations by Flight Refuelling Ltd.|
|Handley Page Victor||Probe-and-drogue||B(K).1A, K.1, K.1A and K.2 variants|
|Ilyushin Il-78 Midas||Il-76||USSR||Probe-and-drogue|
|Lockheed HC-130 Hercules and KC-130 Hercules||C-130 Hercules||Probe-and-drogue||Variants: Royal Canadian Air Force modified C-130H, Royal Air Force modified C-130K.|
|Lockheed S-3 Viking||Probe-and-drogue||The former primary US Navy carrier-based tanker, equipped for buddy tanking|
|Lockheed TriStar||Probe-and-drogue||K1 and KC1 variants deployed by the RAF|
|LTV A-7 Corsair II||Probe-and-drogue||Equipped for buddy tanking in US Navy and Greek Air Force service|
|McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender||McDonnell Douglas DC-10||Flying boom||Production||
Also has a retractable hose and drogue that can be selected in-flight. Can be fitted with two underwing pods (similar to the KC-135's MPRS) capable of simultaneously refueling two receiver aircraft (Wing Air Refueling Pods or WARPs). The Royal Netherlands Air Force operates two KDC-10s; former civil aircraft modified to a standard similar to the KC-10.
|Mikoyan MiG-29K||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling|
|Myasishchev M-4-2||M-4 bomber||Probe-and-drogue|
|Myasishchev 3MS-2||3M bomber||Probe-and-drogue|
|Panavia Tornado||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling|
|Sukhoi Su-24M||Probe-and-drogue||equipped for buddy refueling with the UPAZ container as "Strike tankers"|
|Sukhoi Su-33||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling|
|Supermarine Scimitar||Probe-and-drogue||Buddy refueling|
|Tupolev Tu-16N||Tu-16 bomber||Probe-and-drogue|
|Vickers Valiant||Probe-and-drogue||B(PR)K.1 and B(K).1 variants served with the RAF|
|Vickers VC10||Probe-and-drogue||C1K, K2 K3 and K4 variants.|