Djibouti-based Air Force rescue personnel last week plucked a two-man Saudi F-15S crew from the Red Sea after the pair ejected during a strike sortie over Yemen, according to the Saudi government and a press report. An HH-60G rescue helicopter from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, recovered the Saudi airmen on March 26, in coordination with US Navy ships in the area, within two hours of the request for assistance, reported the Wall Street Journal. “Both pilots are reported in good health and high spirits” and were taken to King Khalid AB, Saudi Arabia, for treatment, according to a March 28 release from the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C. Air Force Reserve Command HH-60s of the 303rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron are currently deployed to Camp Lemonnier alongside pararescue personnel and Alaska Air National Guard HC-130 tankers supporting Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. Saudi Arabia kicked off an Arab coalition air offensive against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen last week.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.