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Joint Warrior is the largest annual NATO Exercise within Europe. The event, organised by the United Kingdom, sees huge numbers of warships, land vehicles, aircrafts and ground troops participating. Main target of the exercise is to improve cooperation between the three main areas of military forces on the ground, on the sea and in the air.

The German Military joined in the Air with a A310-300 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) of the Support Wing of the German Ministry of Defence (Flugbereitschaft im Bundesministerium der Vertigiung) based in Köln-Wahn and six ECR Tornados from the Tactical Fighter Wing (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader) 51 based in Schleswig-Jagel.

The mission which we could document included air-to-air refueling of 4 Tornados. The airspace reserved for that manoeuver was located close to the coast of Scotland in 130000 feet. The fighters arrived in two-ship formations and each of them first took position to the left of the Airbus. Afterwards the two ship separated and one aircraft always connected on the left and on the right hand side with the refueling basket. During the following six minutes each aircraft received approx. 3 tons of jet fuel. After completion of the refuelling the aircraft took position on the right wing before leaving the formation. The same procedure was repeated with the two other Tornados. As a side remark and detail – all aircraft belonged previously to the Wing in Lechfeld.

On the way back to Köln-Wahn we learned that overall 12.4 tons of jet fuel had been transferred to the Tornados.

Tom Ziegler, October 2015

Tom Ziegler Oktober 2015