- Sep 13, 2010
The second option was what I was talking about, Boeing can obviously do it but so can Airbus:View attachment 114907
Such a solution already exists, it’s called the Boom Drogue Adapter Unit. It is already in service with the USAF and French Air Force. But it is much more difficult to operate and is more prone to accidents and incidents. It is also more expensive and can refuel only one aircraft at a time unlike probe and Drogue which can refuel 2 or 3 at a time.
“USAF KC-135 and French Air Force KC-135FR refueling-boom equipped tankers can be field converted to a probe-and-drogue system using a special adapter unit. In this configuration, the tanker retains its articulated boom, but has a hose/drogue at the end of it instead of the usual nozzle. The tanker boom operator holds the boom in a static position, while the receiver aircraft then flies the probe into the basket. Unlike the soft canvas basket used in most drogue systems, the adapter units use a steel basket, grimly known as the “iron maiden” by naval aviators because of its unforgiving nature. Soft drogues can be contacted slightly off center, wherein the probe is guided into the hose receptacle by the canvas drogue. The metal drogue, when contacted even slightly off center, will pivot out of place, potentially “slapping” the aircraft’s fuselage and causing damage”.
Another option is a multiple system option consisting of both the fixed boom and probe/Drogue pods on the wings. It is in service with the KC-10E.
View attachment 114909
“Some tankers have both a boom and one or more complete hose-and-drogue systems. Where these are attached to the wings, the system is known as the Multi-Point Refueling System or MPRS. The USAF KC-10 has both a flying boom and also a separate hose and drogue system manufactured by Cobham plc. Both are on the aircraft centerline at the tail of the aircraft, so only one system can be used at once. However, such a system allows all types of probe- and receptacle-equipped aircraft to be refueled in a single mission, without landing to install an adapter. Many KC-135 and some KC-10s are also equipped with dual under-wing hose-and-drogue attachments known as Wing Air Refueling Pods (WARPs).”
The second option seems to be the system we need to look at for our future needs.