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US Air Force's KC-135 Stratotanker starts aerial refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft

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World Aviation Defense & Security News - United States
 
 
US Air Force's KC-135 Stratotanker starts refueling Saudi-led coalition aircraft
 
The United States has started daily aerial refueling for warplanes in the Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The first refueling flight took place on Tuesday night with a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker providing fuel for a F-15 fighter jet operated by Saudi Arabia and an F-16 flown by the United Arab Emirates, spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.
     
The United States has started daily aerial refueling for warplanes in the Saudi-led coalition carrying out air strikes against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Pentagon said Wednesday. The first refueling flight took place on Tuesday night with a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker providing fuel for a F-15 fighter jet operated by Saudi Arabia and an F-16 flown by the United Arab Emirates, spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.
RSAF F-15C Eagle fighter aircraft
     
We will have a tanker sortie every day,” Warren said, adding that all flights will be outside of Yemeni air space.

Pentagon had announced plans for aerial refueling earlier and officials say American forces stand ready to fly early warning radar aircraft if necessary.

The offensive is code-named Operation Decisive Storm, and is also supported by warplanes from Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt, and the UAE.

The move signaled an expanding role for the U.S. military as Washington said Tuesday it was stepping up intelligence sharing with the coalition and expediting the delivery of precision-guided bombs to the Saudis and their Gulf allies.

But U.S. officials and military officers insisted the American assistance was “limited” and would not escalate with aircraft taking part in any bombing raids in Yemen.

President Barack Obama approved intelligence and logistics support for the Saudi-led coalition after Riyadh announced its armed intervention in Yemen against Iranian-backed rebels.

About 12 U.S. military troops are working with the Saudis at a “joint fusion center” in Riyadh, led by a two-star U.S. Marine Corps general, officials said.

U.S. forces, including a helicopter, helped rescue two Saudi pilots on March 26 from the Gulf of Aden after their F-15 fighter suffered engine trouble.

(Source: Al Arabyia News)