U.S. Air Force members demonstrated forward aerial refueling tactics with Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force personnel July 8 during Talisman Sabre 2015.
The training demonstration helped provide Australian forces with the knowledge to establish similar capabilities for their future operations.
“We’re a forward area fuel extension, so we can set up anywhere, such as a farmer’s field or on a remote airstrip and act as a mobile gas station where aircraft can stop, refuel and either continue their mission or get home safely,” said Staff Sgt. John Dillard, an 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels specialist. “They’re in the process of rebuilding their forward aerial refueling teams, so this allows us to show them what we have and they can use what ideas they like most and tailor it to their missions.”
During the demonstration, members of the 353rd Special Operations Group and fuels specialists from the 18th LRS went through the steps they would use to rapidly deploy a forward area manifold cart and hook up fuel hoses from their aircraft to a helicopter.
A forward area manifold cart is a large mobile generator that pumps fuel out of an aircraft and delivers it to aircraft in need. The cart has the capability to fuel up to three aircraft at the same time.
“We’re interested in developing this capability, and this exercise is a fantastic opportunity to see and learn while the Americans are here and able to demonstrate their processes,” said Australian Army Lt. Col. Tim Connolly, the commanding officer of the 6th Aviation Regiment. “The 353rd SOG has been incredibly helpful and open to sharing their operations. The U.S. and Australia share a fantastically strong alliance, and this is a way to improve our interoperability and commonality, and we can work together in the future with common procedures.”
Col. Clay Freeman, the 353rd SOG and Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component commander, said the training is valuable for the U.S. and Australia and highlights the alliance between the two nations.
“This has been outstanding,” Freeman said. “The focus of our exercise objectives is interoperability and integration with our Australian allies. It’s been a great experience with everyone working hard and having a positive attitude. Our ability to work together and share knowledge allows us to function even better as a combined force.”
Talisman Sabre 2015 is being conducted in multiple locations in both the U.S. and Australia, and provides an opportunity to conduct operations in a combined, joint and interagency environment.