From Air Force Link: “A group of Airmen with the 100th Air Refueling Wing traveled to Tampere, Finland, May 2 to participate in a week-long exercise with Navy and Finnish Air Force F-18 Hornet pilots.
The Airmen helped teach the Finnish pilots how to refuel in-air from a KC-135 Stratotanker.
The exercise marks the first time United States Air Forces in Europe has deployed a tanker team to Finland for an air-to-air refueling operation. The Finnish Air Force has been flying F-18s since the mid-1990s, but air-to-air refueling is a fairly new concept to the country’s Hornet pilots.
According to the Finnish Air Force’s 21st Fighter Squadron, some of the unit’s pilots have refueled other aircraft in air, but the majority of them are inexperienced with the procedure.
‘This provides an extension of our forces,’ said the squadron’s operations officer, who asked to remain anonymous due to government policies. ‘This will allow us to be in the sky longer.’
The captain said the training helps the squadron, and the service as a whole, meet a government requirement to be able to deploy outside Finland to support NATO forces. Although Finland is not a member of NATO, it is a part of the organization’s Partnership of Peace program, which USAFE also supports.
‘This opens our eyes to a much wider operating area,’ said the captain.
One of the primary missions of the 100th ARW is providing air refueling support to the United States’ European allies, said Capt. Aaron Torczynski, KC-135 aircraft commander. The 100th ARW is the sole refueling unit for the European theater, supporting NATO members and broadening the range of air assets flying around the globe.”