List of tanker aircraft

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A Russian Air Force (VVS) Ilyushin Il-78 tanker aircraft with its two hose and drogue refuelling devices extended is followed by two Sukhoi Su-24 attack jet aircraft simulating aerial refuelling, flanked by four smaller Yakovlev Yak-130 trainer/fighter aircraft, from the celebration flypast during the Moscow Victory Day Parade of 2010.

This is a list of tanker aircraft used for aerial refuelling of another aircraft whilst in powered flight.

Refueling methods[edit]

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.
Probe-and-drogue
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.
Wing-to-wing
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.

Gallery[edit]

These images illustrate various aerial refuelling methods.

List of aircraft[edit]

military tanker aircraft used to refuel other aircraft in flight
Tanker
aircraft
based
on
aircraft
propulsion
method
Fuel
supply
method
Operators Date entered use Current
status
Qty Notes
Airbus A310 MRTT Airbus
A310-300C
2x turbofan jet probe and drogue Canada / France / Germany operational 6 Two for Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), known in service as CC-150T Polaris
Airbus A330 MRTT Airbus
A330-200
2x turbofan jet probe and drogue Australia / Saudi Arabia / Spain / United Arab Emirates / United Kingdom operational ?? KC2
5 KC3
In Royal Air Force (RAF) service, it is exclusively hose-and-drogue, and is known as Voyager KC2 (two under-wing hose and drogue) and Voyager KC3 (two under-wing hose and drogue plus under-fuselage centreline high capacity hose and drogue), with no self-refuelling capability. Australian, Emirati, and Saudi operators have a refuelling boom in addition to wing mounted hose-and-drogue.
Airbus A330 MRTT Airbus
A330-200
2x turbofan jet flying boom Australia / Saudi Arabia / United Arab Emirates operational Versions operated by the Australian, Emirati, and Saudi air forces are equipped with both a flying boom and hose and drogue refuelling units.
Airbus
A400M
Atlas
Airbus
A400M
Atlas
4x Europrop TP400 turboprop probe and drogue Spain / Germany / France 2013 operational
Airco DH.4 Airco DH.4 propeller gravity flow hose United States 1923 retired 1 US Army Air Service trials at Rockwell Field, San Diego, California.[1]
Avro Lancaster Avro Lancaster 4x propeller probe and drogue United Kingdom 1948 retired Purchased and converted by Flight Refuelling Limited (FRL).[2]
Avro Lancastrian Avro Lancaster 4x propeller probe and drogue United Kingdom 1948 retired 4 Purchased and converted by Flight Refuelling Limited (FRL), two Lancastrian tankers were based at Shannon, Ireland; the other two in North America, at Goose Bay, Labrador, and Gander, Newfoundland.[2]
Avro Lincoln Avro Lincoln 4x propeller probe and drogue United Kingdom retired Purchased and converted by Flight Refuelling Limited (FRL).[2]
Avro Vulcan K.2 Avro Vulcan 4x jet probe and drogue United Kingdom 1982 retired 6 Conversions as interim until VC.10 tankers ready.
Blackburn
Buccaneer
S.2]]
Blackburn
Buccaneer
S.2
2x turbofan jet probe and drogue United Kingdom retired Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Boeing 707 Boeing
367-80

(Dash 80)
4x jet probe and drogue Canada / United States operational Variants: Colombian Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker with multi-point refuelling system pods. Two for RCAF as CC-137 Husky.
Boeing 767 Boeing 767 2x jet probe and drogue United States operational Conversion by IAI. FAC, a 767-200ER fitted with two ARP3 refuelling pods under the wings, and cargo door.
Boeing
KB-29M
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 4x propeller probe and drogue United States 1948 retired 126 The world’s first aerial refuelling units were created; the 43d Air Refueling Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, and the 509th at Walker AFB, Roswell, New Mexico. Earlier KB-29M versions used a 'grappling hose' system, later models used a true probe and drogue. One KB-29M, redesignated YKB-29T (nicknamed 'Triple Nipple'), was modified to have another two refuelling hoses on its wingtip.[2]
Boeing
KB-29P
Boeing B-29 Superfortress 4x propeller flying boom United States 1948 retired 100+ [2]
Boeing
KB-50
Boeing B-50 Superfortress 4x propeller probe and drogue United States retired An improved model of the B-29 Superfortress.
Boeing
KB-50
Boeing B-50 Superfortress 4x propeller flying boom United States retired A B-29 derivative.
Boeing KC-33A Boeing
747-100
4x jet flying boom Iran 4 KC-33A is a modified Boeing 747 which lost in the USAF bidding competition to the KC-10 Extender. Four sold to the Iranian Air Force.
Boeing KC-46 Pegasus Boeing
767-200ER
2x jet flying boom United States production USAF designation for Boeing's updated winning KC-767 entry.
Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter 4x propeller flying boom United States Another B-29 Superfortress descendant.[2]
Boeing
KC-135
Stratotanker
Boeing
367-80

(Dash 80)
4x jet flying boom Indonesia / United States operational Boom can be fitted pre-flight with a drogue adapter. AdlA KC-135 Stratotankers use the probe and drogue system. MPRS models for the Indonesian Air Force will have two hose reels drogues (pods) at the wingtips.
Boeing KC-767 Boeing
767-200ER
2x jet flying boom United States operational With cockpit updates, was (eventually) the winning entry in the USAF KC-X competition.
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet 2x jet probe and drogue United States Equipped for buddy-buddy refuelling as 'Strike tankers'. Taking over tanking duties as the S-3 is retired from service.
Consolidated
B-24 Liberator
Consolidated B-24 Liberator 4x propeller United States 1943 retired Used for flight tests with a B–17E receiver.[2]
Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard jet probe and drogue France Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Dassault Rafale Dassault Rafale 2x jet probe and drogue France Buddy-buddy refuelling.
de Havilland Sea Vixen de Havilland Sea Vixen 2x jet probe and drogue United Kingdom retired Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Douglas
KA-3B
Skywarrior
Douglas A-3 Skywarrior jet probe and drogue United States retired Dedicated tanker variant of the Skywarrior. Primary US Navy tanker from the Vietnam War until retirement prior to Desert Storm.
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk Douglas A-4 Skyhawk turbojet probe and drogue United States retired Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Douglas C-1 Douglas C-1 propeller gravity flow hose United States 1929 retired 2 The C-1 was a single-engine transport, 6,445-pound biplane, transformed into tankers by installing two 150-gallon tanks for off-loading, and a refuelling hose that passed through a hatch cut in the floor.[2][1]
Embraer
KC-390
Embraer C-390 Millennium 2x turbofan probe and drogue Brazil Cobham air-to-air refuelling system.
Grumman
KA-6D
Intruder
Grumman A-6 Intruder 2x jet probe and drogue United States Dedicated tanker variant of the Intruder. Attack variants of the A-6 also capable of buddy-buddy tanking.
Handley
Page
HP.54
Harrow
Handley
Page
HP.54
Harrow
2x propeller looped hose United Kingdom 1939 retired 3 Three Harrows were operated by Flight Refuelling Limited, and refuelled Short Empire flying boats on transatlantic services, two from Gander, Newfoundland and one based in Foynes, Ireland.[2]
Handley Page
Type W
Handley Page
W.10
2x propeller looped hose United Kingdom 1935 retired 2 Early trials and demonstrations by Flight Refuelling Ltd using a piston engined biplane.[2]
Handley
Page
Victor
Handley
Page
Victor]]
4x jet probe and drogue United Kingdom 1965 retired 30 B(K).1A, K.1, K.1A and K.2 variants in Royal Air Force service, operated by No. 55 Squadron from RAF Marham. A number of Victor tankers saw action during Black Buck raids of the 1982 Falklands War, refuelling the Avro Vulcan bombers multiple times during each bombing run. Fleet retired October 1993.
Ilyushin Il-78 Midas Ilyushin Il-76 4x turbofan probe and drogue USSR, China
Lockheed HC-130 Hercules & KC-130 Hercules Lockheed
C-130
Hercules
&
C-130J
Super Hercules
4x turboprop probe and drogue Canada / Indonesia / United Kingdom / United States Variants: Royal Canadian Air Force modified C-130H, Indonesian Air Force modified KC-130B, Royal Air Force modified C-130K, United States Marine Corps modified C-130F.[1]
Lockheed
KS-3B
Lockheed S-3 Viking 2x turbofan probe and drogue United States retired The former primary US Navy carrier-based tanker, equipped for buddy-buddy tanking.
Lockheed
TriStar

K1/KC1]]
Lockheed
L-1011-500
TriStar
3x turbofan probe and drogue United Kingdom 1986 retired 6 Two K1 and four KC1 variants operated by No. 216 Squadron Royal Air Force from RAF Brize Norton. Fleet retired 24 March 2014.
LTV A-7
Corsair II
LTV A-7
Corsair II
jet probe and drogue Greece / United States Equipped for buddy-buddy tanking in US Navy and Greek Air Force service.
McDonnell
Douglas
KC-10
Extender
McDonnell
Douglas
DC-10
3x jet flying boom Netherlands / United States 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 refuelling 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
Mikoyan
MiG-29M
jet probe and drogue USSR Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Myasishchev
M-4-2
Myasishchev
M-4
bomber
4x jet probe and drogue USSR retired
Myasishchev
3MS-2
Myasishchev
3M
bomber
4x jet probe and drogue USSR retired
Panavia
Tornado
Panavia
Tornado
2x turbofan probe and drogue retired Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Sukhoi
Su-24M
Sukhoi
Su-24
2x jet probe and drogue USSR Equipped for buddy-buddy refuelling in the Russian Air Force with the in-flight refuelling pod (Russian: universalny podvesnoy agregat zapravkiUPAZ)[3] container as 'Strike tankers'.
Sukhoi
Su-33
Sukhoi
Su-33
2x jet probe and drogue USSR Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Supermarine
Scimitar
Supermarine
Scimitar
jet probe and drogue United Kingdom retired Buddy-buddy refuelling.
Tupolev
Tu-16N
Tupolev
Tu-16 bomber
2x jet probe and drogue USSR
Tupolev
Tu-16Z
Tupolev
Tu-16
2x jet wing to wing USSR
Vickers
Valiant
B(K).1, B(PR)K.1
Vickers
Valiant
4x jet probe and drogue United Kingdom retired The Valiants had removable tanker system in the bomb bay. Operated by Royal Air Force.
Vickers
VC10

C1K, K2, K3, K4]]
Vickers
VC10
4x turbofan probe and drogue United Kingdom retired 27 C1K (13), K2 (5), K3 (4), and K4 (5) variants served with the Royal Air Force, operated by 10 Squadron, 101 Squadron, and 1312 Flight. Fleet retired 20 September 2013.
Xian
H-6U
Xian
H-6
2x jet probe and drogue China People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) of China.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Aerial Refueling". www.CentennialOfFlight.gov. U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Archived from the original on 26 February 2003.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Richard K. Smith (1998). "Seventy-Five Years of Inflight Refueling – Highlights, 1923–1998" (PDF). www.AirForceHistory.HQ.AF.Mil. Air Force History and Museums Program – United States Air Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 17 November 2009.
  3. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Dexter, Keith (2002). Polikarpov's Biplane Fighters. Hinckley, Leicestershire: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-141-5.