Cobham air-to-air refuelling helps US Air Force Special Operations aircraft get home safely
During December 2013 three US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) CV-22s tiltrotor aircraft attempted to evacuate a UN compound in South Sudan. Upon arrival, the aircraft were attacked by hostile ground forces, resulting in significant battle damage causing multiple system failures, including the fuel system aboard all three aircraft. To make it safely back to base, numerous in-flight refuellings were necessary to ensure the aircraft had enough fuel. Each CV-22 is equipped with a Cobham telescopic probe which enables it to take on fuel from hose and drogue equipped tankers, extending its operational range.
This mission has been deemed the most meritorious flight of 2013, earning the crews involved the prestigious Mackay Trophy, awarded by the National Aeronautic Association in the US. The full story of this mission, as disclosed by AFSOC, appears below.