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Oct 23 2019

Czech Baltic Air Policing detachment conducts air to air refueling training with German tanker

In early October 2019 pilots of the Czech Air Force’s Baltic Air Policing detachment, based in Ämari, Estonia, conducted air to air refueling training with a German Air Force Multirole Tanker over the Baltic Sea. 

The training opportunity was created for the Czech pilots to maintain their air to air refueling certifications and for both nations to exercise interoperability of personnel and equipment. Air to air refueling is an important Airpower capability that increases the reach, endurance and sustainment of NATO assets. However, as a complex scenario it requires fighter pilots’ repeated training and operational certification.

The Czech JAS-39 Gripen fighters refuel with the so-called “probe-drogue” system, in which the refueling pilot must insert the fighter jet’s probe into the tanker’s drogue, literally a flying fuel hose that the tanker drags behind. Although both aircraft are maintaining an identical course, they remain in constant motion relative to one another, challenging fighter pilots as well as the tanker crew. The training opportunity was also seized by Gripen fighter jets from NATO partner nation Sweden’s Air Force, which refueled in mid-air from the same tanker. 

Two JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets of the Czech Air Force refueling from a German Air Force A310 Multirole Transport Tanker.
Photo courtesy of Czech Air Force.


A JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets of the Czech Air Force refueling from a German Air Force A310 Multirole Transport Tanker.
Photo courtesy of Czech Air Force.
Operations-wise, maintaining the air-to-air refueling capability is crucial. It extends your range and endurance and allows you to react flexibly to any Situation.

“Operations-wise, maintaining the air-to-air refueling capability is crucial. It extends your range and endurance and allows you to react flexibly to any situation”, says Lieutenant-Colonel Pavel Pavlík, Detachment Commander. His detachment took over the augmenting role of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission at the beginning of September and will secure the skies over the Baltic States alongside a Belgian and a Danish Air Force detachment, both based in Lithuania, until the end of the year.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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