We have discussed what it’s like to take on gas from the tanker in an F-15D, so today we’re going to look at the same evolution from the F-16C.

This Viper pilot, one of FighterSweep’s very own contributors, is seen here traveling to an undisclosed location. The video starts as he moves in from the pre-contact position–taking his visual cues from the director lights as he maneuvers his jet into an optimal position for the boomer to “plug.”

The F-16 has its refueling receptacle on the spine of the jet, about halfway between the aft point of the canopy and the base of the vertical stab.

Sometimes, as we see here, the lineup isn’t quite right and minute adjustments need to be made by both the boomer and the receiver to make sure the hook-up happens.

Diagram courtesy of F-16.net
Diagram courtesy of F-16.net

Fortunately, after just a little hiccup in the approach, contact is made and the fuel is passed without further incident. If you look closely, you can check the Viper Driver’s seven o’clock position and see his wingman waiting for a turn.

As the old addage goes, “No One Kicks Ass Without Tanker Gas,” and the ability of the United States to project combat airpower is entirely dependent upon the tankers. It quite literally can become a game of inches–especially if the atmosphere isn’t being cooperative, it’s happening in complete darkness, or other factors that make air-to-air refueling challenging.

(Featured photo by Scott Wolff)