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The Marine Corps will start testing a new configuration for its main transport plane that officials say could revolutionize the reach of the Corps’ combat aircraft.

The MV-22 Osprey, which Marines have already used as troop transports for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, will start testing air-to-air refueling this summer, Marine Corps officials tell U.S. News. Manufacturer Boeing already has a kit that would allow crews to roll fuel tanks onto the Osprey’s cargo hold and dangle a hose to refuel other planes mid-air.

If approved, this would help the U.S. military’s quick response force react to catastrophes worldwide, from humanitarian crises to attacks on America’s facilities, senior officials say.

This gives “numerous options” for the Marine Corps aviation to refuel its airplanes, such as the F-35 attack jet, says Col. Kevin Killea, who oversees Marine Corps aviation requirements. The stealthy, long-range fighter jet known as the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter would have the benefit of refueling from an MV-22, which would be “autonomous to the Marine Corps.”

Read more at U.S. News and World Report

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