RAF News

Atlas develops aircraft refuelling capability

Personnel work with spill kit on the airfield, with vehicles.
All imagery by Mr Steve Lympany, RAF Brize Norton.

Specialist teams from two RAF units have been developing the capability of the Atlas transport aircraft to refuel fast jets by conducting a first time trial of a new fuelling system.

Personnel from the Fuels Support Team, part of No Expeditionary Logistics Squadron based at RAF Wittering, deployed to RAF Brize Norton to develop the Air Landed Aircraft Refuelling System capability used by the A400M ‘Atlas’.

"This a very exciting opportunity for the Atlas force.  We, in concert with our partners, are working constantly to develop and prove increasing A400M tactical capability – at pace.  The work with No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron showcases the ability of A400M to rapidly establish a forward refuelling point, which is critical to projecting our Forces wherever they may be needed in the world."

Wing Commander Patton
Officer Commanding 30 Squadron

Personnel refuelling.

The team take fuel from a large multi-engine aircraft like the Atlas and transfer it into a tactical refuelling facility to provide support to aircraft forward deployed from their Main Operating Bases to more austere locations. 

Spill kit and refuelling the Atlas.

The Fuel Support Teams at No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron are specialists in providing tactical refuelling solutions for all fixed wing aircraft in all environments.  They can provide a range of refuelling solutions to the RAF ranging from a Tactical Refuelling Area to a Primary Bulk Fuel Installation that can store up to 525k litres of fuel, enough to fully refuel eight A400M aircraft, or 525 Typhoon.

"This is a new capability and the training conducted at Brize Norton represents the first step in bringing it to life.  The Fuels Support Team, oversaw the de-fuel of the A400M into a Tactical Refuelling Area during two live demonstrations: one in daylight, and one at night.  Once fully matured ALARS will afford Defence a highly flexible and adaptable method of enabling a Forward Air Refuelling Point in future."

Flight Lieutenant De Jong
Officer Commanding Mechanised Transport & Fuels

This trial directly supports the RAF development of Agile Combat Employment which is an operational concept of being able to operate from austere air bases in order to disperse and quickly manoeuvre combat capability throughout a theatre.  Supported by a minimal presence on the ground to provide support activities such as aircraft fuelling, arming and engineering, Agile Combat Employment expands the number of bases from which air forces can generate combat sorties.

Personnel refuelling.