The Swedish air force’s Gripen fleet has been capable of being air refueled for some time but now the military is getting serious about figuring out how to use the feature. Some may remember that air-to-air refueling was a no-no for awhile, because it was viewed as not fitting the country's defensive military posture.
Now that the view on the issue has changed, and the C/Ds are fitted with a refueling probe, Swedish air force pilots from F21 and F-17 wings recently conducted air refueling drills using a probe-and-drogue tanking system. The six pilots that underwent the week long training are supposed to act as trainers for other operational Gripen pilots.
[Credit: Swedish air force]
The refueling capability increases Gripen’s endurance from two to about eight hours, and Swedish air force officials say it also makes it easier for their personnel to participate in international exercises.
The Swedish military says it used the opportunity of having the refueler on hand to work with a partner, the Norwegian air force, which also took advantage of the tanker availability.
France provided one of its KC-135s during the exercise.