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Tanker exercise sets up flying gas station above the Canary Islands

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Tanker aircraft from France and Spain practised the delicate but critical art of mid-air refuelling during the annual exercise European Air Refuelling Training (EART), held this year over Spain’s Canary Islands.
Led by the European Air Transport Command (EATC), an organisation formed by seven NATO Allies and based in the Netherlands, the exercise supported the Spanish-led fighter exercise Ocean Sky 2021. Fighters gathered with the tankers, providing them a full tank of gas while giving the tanker crew a chance to hone their craft. Participating for the first time in 2021 was the Multinational Multirole Tanker Transport Unit (MMU), an Airbus A-330 tanker owned by NATO and managed by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency. The MMU offers aerial refuelling, transport and medical evacuation capabilities to the six NATO Allies participating in NATO’s Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) programme, and the fleet is expected to reach initial operational capability in January 2022.
Footage includes shots of French and Spanish aircraft refuelling Spanish F/A-18 Hornets, shots of the MMU taking off and landing, and interviews with EATC and MMU officers.

Synopsis

Running low on gas? Swing by the Canary Islands where French and Spanish tanker aircraft are ready to top you off during European Air Refuelling Training 21.

Transcript

(00:00) VARIOUS SHOTS: SPANISH AIR FORCE A400M MULTIROLE TANKER TRANSPORT TAXIING AND TAKING OFF IN LANZAROTE, SPAIN
(00:25) VARIOUS SHOTS: SPANISH AIR FORCE F/A-18 HORNETS GETTING REFUELLED BY SPANISH TANKER
(01:09) VARIOUS SHOTS: COCKPIT, SPANISH TANKER
(01:20) WIDE SHOT: SPANISH TANKER RETRACTING DROGUE
(01:28) VARIOUS SHOTS FROM COCKPIT OF THE MULTINATIONAL MULTIROLE UNIT’S A330 TANKER DURING TAXI AND TAKEOFF, WITH FRENCH AIR FORCE A330 TANKER IN FRONT
(01:56) WIDE SHOT: LANZAROTE LANDSCAPE
(02:02) TELEPHOTO SHOT: FRENCH TANKER BANKING LEFT
(02:11) TELEPHOTO SHOT: FRENCH TANKER IN FLIGHT
(02:12) VARIOUS SHOTS: FRENCH TANKER REFUELLING TWO SPANISH F/A-18s
(02:28) MEDIUM SHOT: FRENCH TANKER
(02:33) VARIOUS SHOTS: FRENCH TANKER PASSES OVERHEAD AND BREAKS FOR LANDING
(02:45) VARIOUS SHOTS: FRENCH TANKER LANDING AND TAXIING
(03:24) VARIOUS SHOTS: SPANISH GROUND CREW REFUELLING SPANISH TANKER
(03:39) ++ MUTE ++ TIME LAPSE: COCKPIT VIEW OF SPANISH TANKER TAKING OFF
(03:51) ++ MUTE ++ TIME LAPSE: MMU TAKING OFF AND FLYING OVER LANZAROTE
(04:17) ++ MUTE ++ TIME LAPSE: MMU LANDING IN LANZAROTE
(04:35) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – COLONEL SALVATORE MELILLO, ITALIAN AIR FORCE, EART 21 EXERCISE DIRECTOR
“Inside air mobility, air-to-air refuelling is one of our topics in EATC (European Air Transport Command). This exercise has a link to a fighter exercise, the Ocean Sky, and born to give support to this fighter exercise in terms of air-to-air refuelling assets, and at the same time, it’s a good opportunity to share training and to standardize operational procedures inside the air-to-air refuelling community.
(05:14) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – COLONEL SALVATORE MELILLO, ITALIAN AIR FORCE, EART 21 EXERCISE DIRECTOR
“So we, EATC is a multinational organisation between seven European nations, and born more than 10 years ago, and the intent is to share all the information and to have basically expertise on the air mobility, on the air-to-air refuelling, and air medical evacuation.
(05:42) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – COLONEL SALVATORE MELILLO, ITALIAN AIR FORCE, EART 21 EXERCISE DIRECTOR
“Okay, the benefit of EATC is the pooling and sharing concept, so sharing information, sharing assets and having this information in between the mission, in order to create a unique organisation for the standardization of all the manuals and operational procedures.
(06:13) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRISTIAN KÖRNIG, GERMAN AIR FORCE, MMU DETACHMENT COMMANDER
“The Multinational Tanker Unit was born several years ago as well, with several nations wanting to participate, and having the idea about building up a unit which consists of multiple nations with one goal – to have the ability for air-to-air refuelling, passenger transport and cargo transport.”
(06:36) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRISTIAN KÖRNIG, GERMAN AIR FORCE, MMU DETACHMENT COMMANDER
“What’s special about the MMU is that the aircraft are owned and managed by the NATO, but they are operated by the participating nations which are in the MMU.”
(06:47) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRISTIAN KÖRNIG, GERMAN AIR FORCE, MMU DETACHMENT COMMANDER
“A tanker can be a big game-changer, in terms of either deploying fighters from A to B, or when they are in a scenario that they can extend their on-time station, and that is important about the tankers.”
(07:02) SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHRISTIAN KÖRNIG, GERMAN AIR FORCE, MMU DETACHMENT COMMANDER
“The footprint can be way bigger than without a tanker. So the impact which a single Eurofighter or a two-ship can achieve is way bigger than without a tanker.”

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Reference
NATO856589
ID
1873