October 23rd 2015 was an historic day for the RAAF with the first combat refuelling by a KC-30 using its new-technology computerised refuelling boom.
The flying boom system allows for faster transfer of fuel than the hose-and-drogue system and will allow the RAAF to refuel boom-refuelling equipped aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft, the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft and the F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighter.
The KC-30 and E-7A operating in Iraq are serving with the Air Task Group (ATG), the RAAF’s air combat group operating within a US-led international coalition assembled to disrupt and degrade Daesh operations.
The ATG comprises six RAAF F/A-18 Hornets, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft.
There are up to 350 personnel deployed, at any one time, to the Middle East Region as part of, or in direct support of the ATG, which is part of Australia’s broader Defence contribution to Iraq, codenamed Operation OKRA, which includes a Special Operations Task Group and a combined Australian – New Zealand training group for the Iraqi Army.