Calling tanker drivers and operators. Questions about the art

Hey guys, it’s long passed time that I learned how to refuel and to that end, I want to build a couple of tanker missions SP and MP for the NTTR using the tracks from this thread:

In the past I’ve just made guesses on altitude and airspeed, but want to do it right. What’s the SOP for altitude and airspeed (KIAS or KTAS) and are the tracks usually oval? If so, what would the maximum bank angle that a tanker would fly while delivering product to customers? Anything else that I need to know? Do they usually have a CAP and how far back from are the tracks from the FEBA? I suppose that depends on contested is the air space. Thank you.

I wouldn’t mind throwing up a server and hosting if there are other like minded individuals. I am tired of breaking out of CAP VUL because I’m too much of a sissy to hit the tanker.

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There are some publicly available documents on some of that stuff. I’ll post them later when I am at my PC

Thanks @Aginor. I didn’t pause to think that it might be sensitive information, but if so, please disregard the request.

As with all things, don’t believe everything on the internet, but:


Right on @near_blind. That’s a great table.

Strike eagles like 300 knots and low 20s, we can do higher but especially once loaded with ordnance or in a 220 engined jet you will prolly be in min ab on one or both engines to stay on the boom


Burning it as fast as you take it in! That’s the Amuricaaaa way!

That table is one of the sources I also wanted to post.

The other one is the ATP-56 with parts A and B, which are publicly available. It is a NATO document.

part A

part B

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Thanks @Aginor. It’s amazing how much information is in public domain, for better or worse.

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For the long answer, see docs that @Aginor posted.

Short answer - there are three types.
1st - Tanker and receiver fly towards same point and time in space to drive same line.
2nd - Tanker is holding next to “point in space”. Receiver drives the line and tanker turns at right time where tanker and rxer end up on the line with rx 1-3 miles behind.
3rd - Tanker stays in airspace burning ovals and rxers come up when they want gas. This one used mostly for fighters.

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Thanks for the professional feedback. Here’s v1 of the mission. It needs some work though, because the tanker banks too steeply reversing course. At first I was a bit miffed at the ME, which only allows entering GS. But throwing in some numbers in a TAS calculator was able to get the IAS around 312 for the tanker at FL 210. Suggestions welcome.

[F-15C] Refueling Training NTTR_SP_v1.miz (10.1 KB)

[F-15C] Refueling Training NTTR_SP_v1.miz (9.3 KB)
Might I be so bold as to suggest using orbit tasks? I set it up so that the tanker will orbit between its initial point and wp1 for 30 minutes, then continue its flight plan. (I also gave the player weapons and bags because I like to practice like I would do it tactically).

So my advice. All tanking, and especially USAF Boom tanking, is basically high stakes formation flying. You have to be cognizant of the refueling device, but the secret is to keep a close steady formation with your tanker. Keep in mind that your pitch and your throttle setting are linked, so that any increase in throttle is going to force your nose up, and any reduction in throttle will shunt your nose down as well as force you forward and back.

With manual trim aircraft you can anticipate this, but with FBW aircraft like the Mirage and to a lesser extent the F-15C (yes I know its CAS not FBW), you want to be patient and let the FCS figure out what it wants to do every time you change throttle input. You don’t want to fight it too much, otherwise you’re going to get yourself in some nasty PIO.

So currently you want to approach the tanker from slightly low (think the FPM maybe a centimeter below the end of the boom), and stabilize in a position where you can see the two rows of lights on the tankers belly, and the boom is behind you. Make sure your heading carret on the HUD is aligned with the right wing root of the tanker. From here shift your view up to the two rows of lights. The left row displays your relative vertical position, the right shows your fore/aft position and they’re fairly intuitive so I’ll leave you to figure out the nitty gritty of their operation. (I also find it useful to be as zoomed out as you can stand at this stage, it helps fight the instinct to overcorrect) Use them to find the optimal contact position, and once you have it try and keep the jet as steady as possible, as the boom operator will attempt to skewer you. Once you’ve achieved contact, find a reference point on the tanker, and try and fly to keep that as steady as possible, periodically double checking the alignment lights. At this point it’s all about using very minute control inputs to keep position while you fuel up. Once the operator calls transfer complete NOSE DOWN, otherwise he’s going to kill you.

Finally, don’t get distraught. Tanking is difficult in the best of times, right now in DCS it’s flipping ludicrous. They made the boom colidable, and gave the boom operator a complimentary lobotomy to boot. That jerk is going to kill you, a lot. It’s still possible to tank, but it’s frustrating. Hopefully they’ll resolve this in the future. I’ve linked a video of me tanking on your mission. I get a little sloppy once I connect, but I’m able to go from 50% fuel to 100% without disconnecting. I then get murdered by the boom operator.

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I haven’t played in a while with life and all so I can’t comment on what’s doing on with DCS, but I’m more than happy to answer tanker ops (within reason) regarding RL.

Thanks guys. I made a few small changes to the mission per @near_blind, in that I setup an orbit. I tested it as far as the first turn and it is much smoother than the previous version. Nice flying by the way @near_blind. That is weird behavior at disconnect. It’s like you were dragged left by the boom.

[F-15C] Refueling Training NTTR_SP_v2.miz (9.5 KB)

I’m pretty sure what happened is when the transfer was complete, the AI extended the boom back to the normal position. I happened to be high and forward, that entailed pushing it through my wingroot. Because the boom is now colideable, it tore off my wing.