British Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft have for the first time undergone “buddy-buddy” refuelling behind a US Navy (USN) Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet.
Conducted in the Asia-Pacific region during the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) ongoing Carrier Strike Group deployment, the activity involved jets from the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) 617 Sqn, operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
“The refuelling occurred during exercises with the US Navy aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and USS Carl Vinson,” the RAF says. It involved RAF and RN pilots.
“A Super Hornet configured with external fuel tanks and AAR [air-to-air refuelling] equipment provided a valuable opportunity to carry out this training and enhance interoperability between UK and US aircraft carriers and their respective carrier-borne aircraft,” the service adds.
The UK aircraft also took part in a flypast of the maritime fleet alongside US Marine Corps F-35Bs – several of which are also currently aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth – and USN F-35Cs and Super Hornets.