AirMiddle EastWar

Gallery: Fuelling the fight against ISIS

Air-to-air refuelling is a crucial component for the success of the Coalition aerial campaign against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In August 2017 alone, the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron accomplished around five missions per day, fuelling 3,180 aircraft with 36.5 million pounds of fuel.

Flying from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, the KC-135 Stratotanker squadron provides almost two-thirds of all U.S. Central Command air-to-air refuelling, including to Coalition aircraft deployed as part of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria and the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, according to Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Carr, 340th EARS director of operations.

In the last 10 years the squadron has deployed in major operations including Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Sentinel and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.

“Without a doubt, the USCENTCOM mission would not happen without the efforts of the men and women of the 340th EARS,” said Carr.

USAF KC-135 Stratotanker pre-flight inspection
A US Air Force maintainer, assigned to the 340th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, performs a pre-flight inspection with a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot before a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve July 3, 2017, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Image: US Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Battles)
USAF KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator
A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker boom operator, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, reviews flight plans before a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 1, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
USAF KC-135 Stratotanker
A US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker with the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron takes off in support of Operation Inherent Resolve at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, July 18, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels
A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker over Iraq, Jan. 18, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Senior Airman Jordan Castelan
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon
A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 15, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Senior Airman Jordan Castelan
Boom operator refuels a USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon
A boom operator, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, refuels a US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve June 20, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
Two Belgian Air Force F-16A Fighting Falcons
Two Belgian Air Force F-16A Fighting Falcons fly in formation after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve June 23, 2017. Belgian F-16s have been deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve since October 2014. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot
A US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot watches as the aircraft receives fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of May 20, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
USMC EA-6B Prowler
A US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler departs after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 1, 2017. The Prowler intercepts communications and denies the enemy’s ability to communicate. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
USMC EA-6B Prowler
A US Marine Corps EA-6B Prowler fires flares after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 1, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
French Air Force Rafale
A French Air Force Rafale departs after receiving fuel from a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve on August 31, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
USAF F-22 Raptor
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor departs after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve Aug. 22, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
Boom operator refuels an F-22 Raptor
A 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron boom operator refuels an F-22 Raptor during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, August 22, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
USAF F-22 Raptor
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor departs after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve July 31, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
Boom operator walks through a KC-135 Stratotanker
A 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron boom operator walks through a KC-135 Stratotanker with an oxygen tank after refueling an F-22 Raptor during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve August 22, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
USAF boom operator reviews refueling documents
A 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron boom operator reviews refueling documents aboard a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve August 14, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
US Navy F/A-18C
A US Navy F/A-18C from the VFA-37 Ragin’ Bulls prepares to receive fuel from a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, May 21, 2017. Image: US Air National Guard/Master Sgt. Andrew J. Moseley
USMC F/A-18 Hornet
A US Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet departs after receiving fuel from a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, during a mission over Iraq on August 31, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
RAAF EA-18F Super Hornet
A Royal Australian Air Force EA-18F Super Hornet after receiving fuel from a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron in support of Operation Inherent Resolve on July 1, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Amy M. Lovgren
F-15E Strike Eagles fire flares over Iraq
Two F-15E Strike Eagles fire flares over Iraq during a mission in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, on Sept. 6, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle fires flares
A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle fires flares after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve June 27, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
USAF F-15E Strike Eagle
A US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle receives fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve May 23, 2017. TImage: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
USAF KC-135 Stratotanker pilots
Two US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker pilots, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, perform a pre-landing systems check during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 1, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
A-10 Thunderbolt II
A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II arrives to receive fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 6, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
A-10 Thunderbolt
A US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II departs after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve May 9, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Michael Battles
A-10 Thunderbolt underside
The underside of a US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II as it departs after receiving fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker during a flight in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, July 6, 2017. Image: US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Trevor T. McBride
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