How to intercept a tanker

Question towards the real and simulated pros:

Is there a clever way to join a tanker for air to air refueling without wasting fuel and time?

I had some thrilling moments in the past with the Hornet and Tomcat when my inefficient rendezvous gave me very little fuel before I finally got even near the basket. No pressure :smiley:

Especially when I try to intercept a tanker with head on aspect I’m never sure when to lead turn to come out right at the left wing. I follow my gut feeling but maybe there are some rules of thumb you’d like to share.

There are procedures to do that, and they are even available on the Internet I think!
starts searching

Can’t find it (I am not at home, using my phone right now) but it was a document that contained similar stuff like the diagrams in this article:

https://aroundthepattern.com/military-flying/aviation-history-air-refueling-the-c-5-part-1/

This could also help:

Sorry for double posting, I can’t edit my post for some reason…

ATP3342 would be the latest guidance…
But from fighter perspective you do whatever necessary to join formation while being safe. So do some of that pilot stuff. Typically to lessen wasted time, fighters would request tanker to fly towards direction of where fighters are coming from. Then fighters would do high-g turn to burn off energy and position to whatever position boom operator requests…be it left wing observation or in trail.

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…at which point the lack of AI and communications in DCSW becomes an immersion breaker. Again.

Seriously, those tanker crews in DCSW are… not exactly great at their job. Not very cooperative.

Thanks for the input so far. I’ve checked the slides and ATP 3342 (and even ATP 56). They describe the general procedures but are not very specific on the pilot technique for rendezvous (RV).

There are multiple RV procedures (Alpha to Golf). I learned in some of them even the tanker will do all the work and join up with the receiver. I think we will never see this in our sims but that’s not an issue for me :wink:

Let’s assume I found the tanker, he’s 20 nm in front of me an roughly heading my direction and will fly straight and level. How do I “calculate” when to initiate a turn (other than just estimate and turn when feeling appropriate).

Due to the way pilots get trained…this process becomes very natural through experience. You can try to find AFTTP3-3 KC-135, But those techniques are tanker to tanker rejoin.

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AIM-54 at about 40 miles.

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I’d say first of all is to know and respect your bingo setting. Have a contingency and buffer for x amount of time and so on. Second, TACAN and knowing where the tanker is going relative to you. Stuff like speed might be harder to gather here; I have settings I prefer to use in missions to keep that part consistent, but otherwise they can be defaulted to a pretty damn slow speed. Lastly, being patient and not going to maximum thrust.

Can’t speak for the real world, just know what works in DCS. Give yourself plenty of room to work with and get the tanker visually, then go from there.

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If you have a radar you run a stern conversion intercept. Later I’ll post some more words/ a reference pub if I can find d it

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Talk about getting a hot foot. :astonished:

Wheels