Tanker Power

Air Force tankers operating in US Central Command’s area of responsibility last week set a record for fuel offloaded to receiver aircraft in one day. They delivered a whopping 4.5 million pounds of fuel to joint and coalition aircraft on Sept. 17 over the skies of Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere in Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa. So far in 2010, tankers supporting CENTCOM’s operations have transferred an unprecedented 3.7 million pounds of fuel each day to thirsty receiver aircraft. “Tankers are absolutely essential to our success,” said Army Maj. Matt Starsnic, deputy plans officer for the battlefield coordination detachment within the 609th Air and Space Operations Center at an undisclosed air base in Southwest Asia. He added that “none of our ground combat operations would succeed,” without tankers supporting close air support, electronic warfare, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, and other coalition airplanes. (Southwest Asia report by Roger Drinnon)