The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has successfully conducted air-to-air refuelling trials between its Airbus Defence & Space A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTT) and Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft.

The work took place in the United States during the first half of December, during which the aircraft, designated KC-30A in RAAF service, conducted 444 contacts with USAF F-16s, offloading over 25t of fuel, says Australia’s Department of Defence in a statement.

A330 MRTT F-16

All images Australia Department of Defence

Over 25t of fuel was offloaded via the KC-30A’s boom during the trials, which will yield a conditional clearance for the type to refuel USAF F-16s.

“In early 2016, we will return to the United States to conduct further clearance test flights with the F-16 and other combat aircraft,” says Wing Cdr Grant Kelly. “There are a number of different F-16 variants in service with the USAF and other foreign air forces which will require additional refuelling clearances.”

The RAAF operates five KC-30As, with two more joining the fleet from 2018. The aircraft has seen combat service in the Middle East, refuelling both Australian and coalition aircraft.

A300 MRTT F-16

KC-30A F-16