Reaching Out

The Air Force is advancing plans to field a new Combat Rescue Tanker next decade to refuel special mission aircraft such as the CV-22 Osprey. The Aeronautical Systems Center has announced that it intends to issue a request for proposal on Jan. 15 for one component of this aircraft: a variable speed/variable drag drogue. The drogue system would allow next-generation Air Force Special Operations Command tankers “to support simultaneous helicopter and single CV-22 refueling capability on the same mission without landing to re-configure.” ASC wants the drogue capable of operating at speeds of 105 knots to 215 knots. Overall USAF wants up to 115 new tankers to replace its current HC-130 combat rescue and MC-130 special operations refueling aircraft.