A KC-10 tanker escorted and refueled a flight of five Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft en route to exercise Cobra Gold in Thailand, earlier this month. “Not only did we conduct two aerial refuels, but we effectively showcased the expanding envelope of the MV-22 and its ability to range the entirety of the Pacific Command” area of operations, Medium Tilt-Rotor Squadron 265 Commander Marine Capt. Victor Bockman said in a release. “It is a very capable platform that can hold more fuel than the C-130s we are used to working with. The KC-10 transferred 40,000 pounds of fuel on a 2,000-mile trip from Clark AB, Philippines, to U-Tapao AB, Thailand, additionally acting as a communications relay for the Ospreys. A KC-10 from Travis AFB, Calif., previously tested aerial refueling operations with an Osprey off the coast of California last October, according to a release. Cobra Gold ran Feb. 7 to 21.
Lockheed Martin is pitching its Airbus A330-based LMXT tanker as a “mothership” for the Air Force’s planned fleet of small, stealthy tankers—a rationale company officials hope will overcome the service’s reticence to open its so-called “bridge tanker” buy to competition.