Bringing the fuel to the fight
During Talisman Sabre 2019, The Aviation Studio was fortunate enough to ride along with the 60th Air Mobility Wing based out of Travis Air Force, California thanks to Australian Aviation. The day started with meeting up with fellow media at a FBO at Brisbane Airport. We were briefed on the days mission which would be onboard ‘XTNDR 36’, part of the blue air support. Our mission: to defend the air space from a fictitious state acting as red air.
We were then driven by bus to the aircraft that we would ride that day. A KC-10A Extender (86-0037). Standing in front of the KC-10 was a massive bucket list moment for me. The Douglas DC-10 is my favorite aircraft and to be able to realise a dream of flying on one was quite special.
At 9am, the doors closed and the engines started up before a long taxi to RWY19L. When we got airborne we made the right hand turn over the city and out over Moreton Bay. We then established on an easterly track before turning south and starting in the area of operation, where we would meet up with fast jets to refuel.
First up on the boom were four F-22As from the 90th Fighter Squadron working out of Amberley. Followed by US Navy E/A-18Gs, F/A-18E and F/A-18F models from the USS Ronald Reagan. The KC-10A has the capability to refuel using it’s boom for Air Force assets or via the hose and drogue for Navy or aircraft like the Super Hornet or Growler.
Due to the amount of media onboard, we were each given a certain amount of aircraft to photograph. We had the chance to see a RAAF Growler and Navy Super Hornet refuel. Once the E model hornet broke away our time down on the refuelers station was up and we returned to the main deck of the KC-10A.
The thing The Aviation Studio enjoyed from the flight the most was the ability to ride in the jump seat on the approach and landing into Brisbane Airport’s RWY19L. As we approached the coastline, all the familiar sights of Brisbane reappeared.
It was an absolute pleasure to fly with the US Air Force and we look forward to welcoming them to our skies again soon.