A Look at TurAF’s Aerial Refueling Aircraft Capabilitiy & Potential Candidates to Replace its Aging Tanker Fleet

Date: Issue 117 - October 2022

Aerial refueling has always fascinated me, especially if you witness it live in the air; your amazement increases even more. It is very impressive to see two aircraft, 25,000 ft. above the ground, flying close to each other in coordination and refueling at a speed of around 600 km. They not only fly in a straight line but also maneuver together. Suppose the refueling aircraft is a big one, your excitement increases as well. When you look out the window, the refueling aircraft fills your entire field of vision. Interestingly, the Fokker C-2A, which took off on January 1, 1929, was refueled in the air for seven days by a Douglas C-1 transport aircraft. Fokker C-2A remained aloft for 150 hours and 40 minutes. During that flight, 5660 gallons of fuel and 245 gallons of oil were transferred between the two aircraft.

Today, tanker fleets are essential to keeping operations running. Without tankers, your combat aircraft cannot reach their targets. Your transport aircraft cannot deliver supplies and personnel to the other corner of the world when needed. You cannot get your injured personnel to hospitals where they can get immediate medical attention without tankers. That's why tankers are strategic aircraft.