posted on Oct, 8 2012 @ 11:06 PM
Originally posted by spirit_horse
Yes, tell us. What exactly have you been refueling that we probably are not aware of. UAV's are new to me, but is there anything real exotic? Is
there real highly classified craft that you still can't talk about that you guys refuel?
I saw the F-22's and F-35's refueling over Nellis that someone posted video of here that was real cool.
The day might be coming shortly where I can share some information, but a quick google search turned up nothing on other aircraft. I will tell you
that we have been refueling UAV's for a while now. At least seven or eight years ago, we were refueling the RQ-170. I personally messed around with
the UCAV in 2006, conducting air refueling tests with the drone. They would come up to precontact and stabilize there (about 50 feet behind the boom).
We never made contact with them due to a lack of a receptacle, but the knowledge that they learned from these flights led to pretty good UAV systems
that can be very close to other aircraft.
The real exotic and highly classified aircraft I have no comment on at the moment. But with DARPA releasing this information, it's only a matter of
time before I come across something posted on the internet that I'll be able to talk about. As for now, can't do it. I may have been out of the
military for six years, but I still have a loyalty to my country and I don't really want to go to jail.
As for the F-22, our primary mission when TDY to Edwards was for F-22 flight development and testing support. We took off right after they did and
landed when they were done. They got all the gas they needed on the mission, which usually lasted three hours or so. And of course we had unexpected
guest like the Grey F-117's from skunkworks who want gas from time to time, as well as some "unique" aircraft that someone eluded to the need of
security on board the jet.
As for the F-35's, the Air Force is correct when it came to refueling them for the first time, I think it was around 2009-2010 or something like
that, officially. However, we've refueled the X-35 numerous times while deployed to Edwards AFB. Really not much changed between the X-35 and the
F-35 so technically we were refueling the X-35 starting around 2000. So 12 years later, were still doing test flights and night air refueling with
this JSF. In those 12 years, imagine what has came out in the mean time. If the F-35 is based on 80's and 90's technology, just imagine what we are
refueling up there right now...Remember we still have "T" models in the United States inventory to separate different fuels onboard the KC-135.
Think about that for a second...
(if you happen to be in the kansas city area, hit me up on the messenger. I may or may not have pics to show a few individuals)