New Marine aircraft makes refueling easier
The Marines’ new air refueler proved to be faster and more efficient than its predecessor during a training mission off the west coast of Okinawa last week, according to a Marine Corps news release.
Members of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 from Marine Corps Air Station Futenma used the squadron’s new KC-130J during a three-hour mission to refuel two F/A-18D Hornets flown by the Corps’ All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, the release said.
The KC-130J is about 20 percent faster and has a range of more than 35 percent farther than the antiquated KC-130F fleet used by the squadron and built in the 1960s.
The squadron received its first of nine KC-130Js in June.
The KC-130J is computer-driven, which allows squadron members to program data such as weather conditions, cargo and crew weight, mission timeline and fuel requirements into the aircraft’s internal operating system, the release said. The plane then adjusts its in-flight settings, according to the data.
Crewmembers said the aircraft makes it easier for air combat crews to stay in the fight.
“In Iraq, for example, the jets provide air support for troops on the ground,” pilot 1st Lt. Joseph Lenox was quoted as saying in the release. “If [the jets] had to go back to base every time they ran low on gas, it would waste time, fuel and potentially lives.”