We Have Taken Part In An Arctic Challenge Mission Aboard A KC-135 Tanker

We Have Taken Part In An Arctic Challenge Mission Aboard A KC-135 Tanker


Some pictures taken aboard QID22 (All pictures: Stewart Jack/TheAviationist except in any other case acknowledged)

We refueled Belgian F-16s, Italian and Dutch F-35s throughout Arctic Problem 23, the premier Nordic large-force, live-fly discipline coaching train.

About 150 plane and roughly 2,700 coalition personnel from 13 nations are concerned in ACE 23, the most recent iteration of Arctic Problem, an train collection going down all through Finland, Norway and Swede till Jun. 9, 2023. The biennial drills had been born in 2013 as an interoperability coaching train between Finland, Sweden, and Norway, and it has now expanded to include almost each Arctic nation and plenty of NATO Allies and Companions.

The U.S. Air Drive and U.S. Navy in addition to the opposite NATO air arms routinely conduct operations within the Excessive North alongside the Finnish, Swedish, and Norwegian Air and Naval Forces, nonetheless, the scale of ACE and the number of belongings that took half within the train make it outstanding as a result of they show a rising pivot to the strategic Arctic theather, the “battlefield” for an intensifying wrestle between the U.S., NATO and Russia, for navy in addition to financial causes (principally associated to power extraction and maritime transport actions).

As an illustration, this 12 months, the Arctic Problem noticed two U.S. Air Drive B-1B Lancer bombers deployed to RAF Fairford for Bomber Task Force 23-3 be part of U.S. Air Drive and Royal Norwegian Air Drive F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter plane throughout Arctic Problem Train 2023 in a counter-maritime mission involving the usGerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Provider Strike Group and embarked Provider Air Wing (CVW) 8 with their F/A-18 Tremendous Hornet and EA-18 Growler jets, in addition to P-8A Poseidon MPA (Maritime Patrol Plane), and Allied naval belongings all through the North Sea.


On Tuesday June 7, 2023, we received an opportunity to participate in an ACE 23 mission flying aboard KC-135R 60-0333, radio callsign QID 22,  from the one centesimal ARW from RAF Mildenhall. The aircrew of QID 22 included Maj. Jarrod J. Ebner, Capt. Pablo A. Frias, Capt. Shanon C. Teicher and SrA Daniel E. Crump (Increase Operator). For the lead pilot, Maj. Ebner, this was his penultimate flight within the KC-135R, after logging 6,000 hours flying over 24 years within the U.S. Air Drive.

KC-135 60-0333 on the bottom at RAF Mildenhall. Be aware the nostril artwork.

The mission departed RAF Mildenhall at 10:00 AM and landed again at 16:40.

The KC-135 flew for two hours 45 minutes earlier than tanking the primary F-35s over Sweden the place the refueling space was situated. The tanker may very well be tracked on-line because of its Mode-S/ADS-B transponder.

QID 22 monitor (Picture by way of Flightradar24.com)

The duty of QID 22 was to refuel 4 Belgian Air Drive F-16s, together with the one sporting the Tiger painted scheme, 4 RNLAF (Royal Netherlands Air Drive) F-35s and 4 ItAF (Italian Air Drive) F-35s, all deployed to Orland Air Drive Station, Norway, that can also be the bottom of the RNoAF F-35s.

Our correspondent Stewart Jack took the images and movies you will discover on this put up.

On the best way to the refueling space.
Checking the route planning.

As skilled by Stewart in first individual, it’s not straightforward to take photographs from the growth operator place, as there isn’t a lot room when mendacity subsequent to the growth operator.

Whereas someway restricted the view from the vantage level will not be dangerous!

Sadly, the growth window was lined in a number of fluid inflicting a lot of the refueling imagery to look smooth and/or soiled. Furthermore, for safety causes, media aboard the KC-135 weren’t allowed to take images of the 8x F-35s that refueled from QID 22.

Two of the receivers
On left echelon ready for its flip to refuel.
Belgian Air Drive F-16

Pictures of the Italian and Dutch Lightnings participating within the mission over Sweden had been later launched by the U.S. Air Drive by the DVIDS (Protection Visible Info Distribution Service) – though the caption mentioned the F-35s had been Italian and Norwegian…

Three Italian F-35 Lightning II plane fly in formation over Sweden throughout Arctic Problem Train 2023, June 6, 2023. (U.S. Air Drive photograph by Tech. Sgt. Anthony Hetlage)
The crew of QID 22

A giant thanks to the U.S. Air Drive in Europe and Africa Command for inviting us to participate on this mission!

David Cenciotti is a journalist based mostly in Rome, Italy. He’s the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of many world’s most well-known and skim navy aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for main worldwide magazines, together with Air Forces Month-to-month, Fight Plane, and plenty of others, overlaying aviation, protection, struggle, trade, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown a number of fight planes with totally different air forces. He’s a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Drive, a non-public pilot and a graduate in Laptop Engineering. He has written 5 books and contributed to many extra ones.


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