Metrea performs first commercial aerial refuelling of Navy P-8 Poseidon

A Metrea aircraft refuels a navy P-8 Poseidon in flight.
Photo Credit: Metrea

Metrea made history on April 17, 2023, by performing the first-ever commercial boom aerial refueling of any receiver by a commercial tanker aircraft. The in-flight operation involved to US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft as receivers.

This historic achievement was carried out by a Metrea Strategic Mobility (MSM) KC-135R, and occurred during a successful training exercise off the coast of Florida.

Two P-8 Poseidon aircraft were refueled over a period of 4 hours, resulting in enhanced readiness and training of a front-line operational Navy Unit.

“This is a major milestone in the 100-year history of air-to-air refueling. A commercial tanker has never done this before,” said Jon “Ty” Thomas, Head of Metrea’s Air and Space Group.

“Teamwork with the US Navy, NAVAIR, and the P-8 unit led to this success, which is a testament to the significant value commercial tankers present to augment national military tanker fleets.”

“We look forward to making boom contacts with a USAF receiver and a foreign air force receiver. There is more history to be made here,” Thomas concluded.

Above: Metrea Strategic Mobility refueling P-8 Poseidon. Photo Credit: Metrea


About Metrea Strategic Mobility

Metrea Strategic Mobility (MSM) is the only company to own and operate a fleet of KC-135R aircraft. Metrea offers an air-to-air refueling service that seamlessly, safely, and professionally integrates into military aviation training and operations. 

Metrea has a mission reliability rate of 93% since beginning execution of a NAVAIR contract in late 2021 and has flown over 130,000 accident-free flying hours.

This has been achieved across multiple aircraft types, missions, and geographies in support of US, UK, and other allied and partner government national security objectives.

Above: Metrea Strategic Mobility is the only company to own and operate a fleet of KC-135R aircraft. Photo Credit: Metrea

MSM’s aircraft are equipped with two wing-mounted Multi-Point Refueling System (MPRS) pods which facilitate refueling with probe equipped Navy, Marine Corps and partner nation aircraft.

They are also equipped with an air refueling boom to refuel receptacle equipped receivers, such as Navy P-8’s and US Air Force aircraft. 

Metrea Strategic Mobility is part of Metrea. Metrea provides effects-as-a-service to national security partners in five domains and over a dozen mission-centric solution areas, including airborne ISR, electronic warfare, communications, space-based ISR, and advanced simulation.

Metrea Strategic Mobility is headquartered in Temecula, California. Metrea is headquartered in Washington, DC with facilities across the United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU.

The US Navy P-8 Poseidon

The US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft is used primarily for anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It is a multi-mission aircraft which was designed to replace the Navy’s aging P-3 Orion fleet.

The P-8 Poseidon is based on the commercial Boeing 737-800ERX aircraft, which has been modified to meet the requirements of the US Navy.

The aircraft is equipped with advanced sensors and communication systems, including radar, sonar, and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, as well as secure communication links.

One of the key features of the P-8 Poseidon is its ability to operate for extended periods of time over large areas of water, making it ideal for maritime surveillance missions.

The aircraft can operate at high altitudes and has a range of up to 1,200 nautical miles from its base, allowing it to cover vast areas of ocean and detect potential threats, including enemy submarines.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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