PHOTOS: The F-16 Conformal Refuelling Probe For MMRCA

Found these photos in the new edition of Lockheed-Martin's Code One magazine of the F-16 Conformal Air Refuelling Tank System (CARTS), a Skunk Works led effort that began on a UAE Air Force Block 60 in 2007, specifically to meet an Indian MMRCA requirement.

The report quotes CARTS engineer Don Thompson as saying, “We needed a test aircraft version of the Block 60 aircraft. The test Block 60 aircraft in the US was tied up with avionics modification and integration to support MMRCA field trials, and we needed a dedicated aircraft for the CARTS portion of the field trials demonstration. We modified the aircraft in the UAE because it was easier and quicker than bringing another Block 60 F-16 into the US to modify and then send it right back to the UAE on the way to India for the field trials."

The report notes that "During the flight testing and MMRCA demonstrations, the CARTS-equipped F-16 successfully received fuel from both a modified DC-10 and an Indian Air Force Ilyushin Il-78 tanker aircraft and made approximately forty aerial refueling contacts. The speed envelope, as tested, is in the range of 250 to 300 knots. The pilot flies the probe into the refueling basket of the drogue from just below at a closing speed of no more than ten knots."

Photos: Lockheed-Martin

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