A United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet aircraft during air-to-air refuelling as seen from the console in a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A.
A United States Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet aircraft during air-to-air refuelling as seen from the console in a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A. SGT Mark Doran

RAAF KC-30A aircraft return after mission success

THE latest rotation of the Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A multi-role tanker transport aircraft has returned to Australia following a successful, four-month deployment to the Middle East.

The aircraft completed 95 missions, equating to 776 hours of flying over Iraq and Syria, refuelling Coalition strike aircraft with 5.6 million pounds of fuel.

Commander of the Australian Air Task Element, Wing Commander Craig Stallard said the tanker's contribution was highly valued by Coalition partners.

"Over the past four months, the KC-30A carried out air-to-air refuelling operations with American, British, French and Italian fighter aircraft," Wing Commander Stallard said.

"The reliability and large air-to-air refuelling capability of the KC-30A has given the Coalition persistence and efficiency."

The KC-30A can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft over 5000km and has the versatility to refuel a broad range of aircraft types.

Director of Coalition Air Operations, US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Fletcher said the KC-30A contribution had been warmly received.

"The KC-30A's air-to-air refuelling has meant that we can provide our strike aircraft with more time in the area of operations," Lieutenant Colonel Fletcher said.

"These are aircraft conducting vital counter-Daesh operations and supporting Coalition troops on the ground."

Coinciding with the return to Australia of the KC-30A, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft arrived in the Middle East this month.

The E-7A controls the tactical movement of aircraft over Iraq and Syria to ensure safety and mission success.

The Australian Defence Force deploys the Wedgetail and the KC-30A to the Middle East on a rotational basis.