RCAF Po­laris de­liv­ers 10 mil­lion pounds of fuel to anti-ISIS coali­tion


The 21 mem­bers of Air Task Force-Iraq’s air-to-air re­fu­elling de­tach­ment have reached a ma­jor op­er­a­tional mile­stone in their con­tri­bu­tion to the Mid­dle East Sta­bi­liza­tion Force’s (MESF) ef­forts against the Is­lamic State.

Re­cently, while fly­ing their 168th mis­sion on the CC-150T Po­laris since the be­gin­ning of Op­er­a­tion IM­PACT in late Oc­to­ber 2014, the re­fu­elling crew, fly­ing their CC150T Po­laris, sur­passed 10 mil­lion pounds of fuel trans­ferred to Cana­dian CF-188s and other coali­tion strike air­craft.

This land­mark num­ber re­flects the op­er­a­tional im­por­tance of Canada’s air-toair re­fu­elling ca­pa­bil­ity in the fight against ISIS, en­abling a wide va­ri­ety of coali­tion fighter air­craft to reach ar­eas of oper­a­tions and stay over­head for longer pe­ri­ods of time in or­der to pro­vide Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces with ef­fec­tive air sup­port.

“The air-to-air re­fu­elling de­tach­ment is a ma­jor as­set for the MESF,” said Bri­gadier-Gen­eral Lise Bour­gon, Joint Task Force-Iraq com­man­der. “The Po­laris en­sures fighter air­craft, de­spite their heavy ord­nance loads, have the range needed to con­duct airstrikes on ISIS through­out our op­er­a­tional ar­eas.”

While the Po­laris is not the only MESF air-to-air re­fu­elling air­craft sup­port­ing fighter oper­a­tions, the RCAF crews that fly the large air­craft have made a name for them­selves for their flex­i­bil­ity and will­ing­ness to stay in the air as long as pos­si­ble to en­sure air­craft strik­ing ISIS are fu­elled on the way to a mis­sion and are able to make it back to base at the end of the day.

With a re­fu­elling hose and drogue de­ployed from un­der each wing, the Po­laris can trans­fer more than 80,000 pounds of fuel to re­ceiv­ing air­craft dur­ing a sin­gle flight.

The 10 mil­lion pounds of fuel trans­ferred is a suc­cess achieved thanks to the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion of a unique part­ner­ship be­tween RCAF air­crew from 437 Trans­port Squadron and civil­ian tech­ni­cians with L-3 MAS who work tire­lessly to keep the mod­i­fied Air­bus A310 ready for the next mis­sion. Given the high op­er­a­tional tempo, this reg­u­lar main­te­nance is es­sen­tial.

While some­times over­looked, the con­tri­bu­tion of this air-to-air re­fu­elling ca­pa­bil­ity is es­sen­tial to keep­ing the pres­sure on ISIS. As the air-to-air re­fu­elling crews note, they ‘fuel the fight’.

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