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Refueling a Warthog at Night

How difficult is Aerial Refueling?

One of the most challenging exercises military pilots must perform is refueling their aircraft from a tanker jet midair. It takes years of training to become proficient at this task, and it requires intense sustained focus every time to perform successfully.

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F-35 First Combat Aerial Refueling

An Airman piloting an F-35A Lightning II completes aerial refueling courtesy of Airmen from the 28th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker, April 26, 2019 over an undisclosed location. The F-35 is on its first deployment to the Middle East as part of the inaugural demonstration of the fighter’s next generation combat capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

An Airman piloting an F-35A Lightning II completes aerial refueling courtesy of Airmen from the 28th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron aboard a KC-135R Stratotanker, April 26, 2019 over an undisclosed location. The F-35 is on its first deployment to the Middle East as part of the inaugural demonstration of the fighter’s next generation combat capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Keifer Bowes)

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B-1 Refueling During Strikes on Syria

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft is refueled by a KC-10 Extender over an undisclosed location April 14, 2018. The aircraft were taking part in strikes against Syrian targets in response to the use of chemical weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Rodriguez)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft is refueled by a KC-10 Extender over an undisclosed location April 14, 2018. The aircraft were taking part in strikes against Syrian targets in response to the use of chemical weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Rodriguez)

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer aircraft is refueled by a KC-10 Extender over an undisclosed location April 14, 2018. The aircraft were taking part in strikes against Syrian targets in response to the use of chemical weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Rodriguez)

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RAAF KC-30 Refueling a USAF B-1 Lancer

A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-role Tanker Transport from RAAF Base Amberley provided refuelling operations for U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers in addition to RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers during Exercise Lightning Focus. The B-1B Lancers’ participation in this exercise was part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation program, which aims to increase the interoperability between Australia and the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Farrah Kaufmann)

A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-role Tanker Transport from RAAF Base Amberley provided refuelling operations for U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers in addition to RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers during Exercise Lightning Focus. The B-1B Lancers’ participation in this exercise was part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation program, which aims to increase the interoperability between Australia and the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Farrah Kaufmann)

A Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A Multi-role Tanker Transport from RAAF Base Amberley provided refuelling operations for U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers in addition to RAAF F/A-18F Super Hornets and E/A-18G Growlers during Exercise Lightning Focus. The B-1B Lancers’ participation in this exercise was part of the Enhanced Air Cooperation program, which aims to increase the interoperability between Australia and the United States. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Farrah Kaufmann)

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Thunderbirds Refueling Over Monument Valley

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds conduct aerial refueling prior to a photo mission over Monument Valley National Park while returning from McConnell Air Force Base, September 10, 2018.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds conduct aerial refueling prior to a photo mission over Monument Valley National Park while returning from McConnell Air Force Base, September 10, 2018.

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds conduct aerial refueling prior to a photo mission over Monument Valley National Park while returning from McConnell Air Force Base, September 10, 2018.

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F-22 Aerial Refueling over Iraq

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts refueling operations with a KC-10 Extender while conducting air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts refueling operations with a KC-10 Extender while conducting air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts refueling operations with a KC-10 Extender while conducting air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

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F-22 Pilot Up-Close Over Syria

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor assigned to the 95th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, conducts air strikes and patrols in Iraqi and Syrian airspace in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Nov. 22, 2017. The F-22 Raptor provides U.S. and Coalition forces with a tactical air strike and air superiority capability during combat missions for U.S. and Coalition forces operating in Iraq and Syria. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Gregory Brook)

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F-22 Refueling Over The Nevada Range

A KC-135, assigned to the 509th Weapons Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., preforms aerial refueling on an F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 433rd Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., over the Nevada Test and Training Range during the United States Air Force Weapons School’s Deliberate Strike Night, June 16, 2016. DSN is part of the final seven day Advanced Integration portion of the Weapons School curriculum; testing stealth and conventional airframes abilities to conduct attacks during the hours after the sun sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum)

A KC-135, assigned to the 509th Weapons Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., preforms aerial refueling on an F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 433rd Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., over the Nevada Test and Training Range during the United States Air Force Weapons School’s Deliberate Strike Night, June 16, 2016. DSN is part of the final seven day Advanced Integration portion of the Weapons School curriculum; testing stealth and conventional airframes abilities to conduct attacks during the hours after the sun sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum)

A KC-135, assigned to the 509th Weapons Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., preforms aerial refueling on an F-22 Raptor, assigned to the 433rd Weapons Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., over the Nevada Test and Training Range during the United States Air Force Weapons School’s Deliberate Strike Night, June 16, 2016. DSN is part of the final seven day Advanced Integration portion of the Weapons School curriculum; testing stealth and conventional airframes abilities to conduct attacks during the hours after the sun sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kevin Tanenbaum)

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Refueling The Mighty C-5 Galaxy (4 Photos)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware flies toward a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware flies toward a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

 

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware flies to the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware flies to the boom of a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

 

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

 

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

A C-5 Galaxy with Dover Air Force Base, Delaware is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing, Ohio July 27, 2018. The C-5 connected with two Stratotankers with the 121st ARW on this exercise. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany A Emery)

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Confirmed B-1 Lancer 2018 Syrian Airstrikes

U.S. AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND (April 14, 2018) - A U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber separates from the boom pod after receiving fuel from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker en route to strike chemical weapons targets in Syria April 13, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

U.S. AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND (April 14, 2018) - A U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber separates from the boom pod after receiving fuel from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker en route to strike chemical weapons targets in Syria April 13, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

U.S. AIR FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND (April 14, 2018) – A U.S. Air Force B-1 Bomber separates from the boom pod after receiving fuel from an Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker en route to strike chemical weapons targets in Syria April 13, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo/Released)

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F-14 Tomcat Desert Storm

An F-14A Tomcat aircraft refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-10A Extender aircraft as other Tomcats fly in formation, during Operation Desert Storm. Squadrons represented by the aircraft are (from foreground) Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33), Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) and Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14).

An F-14A Tomcat aircraft refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-10A Extender aircraft as other Tomcats fly in formation, during Operation Desert Storm. Squadrons represented by the aircraft are (from foreground) Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33), Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) and Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14).

An F-14A Tomcat aircraft refuels from a U.S. Air Force KC-10A Extender aircraft as other Tomcats fly in formation, during Operation Desert Storm. Squadrons represented by the aircraft are (from foreground) Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33), Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) and Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14).