Xinhua News Agency, Guangzhou, March 30th, title: Plug in "invisible wings" for the air force of a major country - record the first air tanker unit of the Air Force

  Yu Xiaoquan, Ou Jianbo, Wang Wenbin

  Air refueling is an important indicator to measure the combat capability of a country's air force.

  As the

first air tanker unit established by the People's Air Force

, a certain air force of the Air Force of the Southern Theater Command has always set the goal of realizing the capability of "full-time lift-off and refueling with the airspace", and has gradually realized from simple weather to complex weather, from land to sea, From general conditions to complex tactical backgrounds, from small units to large-scale refueling and other breakthroughs, it has become a "multiplier" to improve the combat effectiveness of the Air Force.


  In the 1990s, this unit took the lead in refitting a certain type of domestic tanker.

At that time, the air refueling technology was still blank in my country.

  "We must master the air refueling technology as soon as possible!" said Li Wenfeng, the commander of the army.

  In mid-November of that year, they successfully completed the refueling trial for the first time.

This "strategic docking" marks a breakthrough in the long-range combat capability of the People's Air Force and opens up a new combat style for air offensive operations.

  Once the footsteps of the dream are taken, they will move forward bravely.

Entering the new century, the superiors decided to carry out trial training for refueling at sea.




This training difficulty is relatively rare in the reference frame at sea. In addition, the sky is uniform and the conditions are complex, and the pilots of the oil-receiving aircraft are under great psychological pressure. Once the refueling is unsuccessful, the fighter will be exhausted and unable to return to the ground. The consequences are unimaginable.

  Gong Lei, then the refueling director of the department, still had a fresh memory of the situation at that time: the pilots took risks together, overcame difficulties, groped for experience, and repeated ground drills and predictions.

  The day of real swords and real guns has finally come.

At about 7 o'clock in the morning that day, with a green flare lifted into the air, an aerial tanker soared up and quickly disappeared into the sea of ​​clouds.

Immediately, a certain type of fighter formation headed up to the sky, and soon merged with the aerial refueling machine, and then staged a shocking "kiss" in the sea and the sky...


  In the tactical context, aerial refueling is a key part of improving the long-range strike capability of aviation.

For the tanker unit, the transition from training and refueling to tactical refueling in the context of actual combat is a breakthrough based on key capabilities.

  At the beginning of the installation, the unit sent 2 tankers to participate in an exercise for the first time, but it did not perform well for various reasons.

For them, who were just starting to refuel in the air at that time, the use of tankers under actual combat conditions was a brand new topic.

  How to break the game?

The officers and soldiers gave the answer: study hard and practice hard.

  In order to verify what they have learned and thought, combined with the general training tasks of refueling and receiving, they actively set up different tactical backgrounds such as complex electromagnetic environment interference and anti-air combat, summed up a variety of implementation methods for aerial refueling and receiving, and formed a series of new models and tactics; Through continuous running-in with fighter units and ground command posts, the troop tactical coordination, air coordination, air search and other capabilities have been greatly improved, and a comprehensive and excellent fighting style has been gradually formed.

  In a system confrontation exercise, the fighter plane received a fuel warning after a round of air combat.

After receiving the order, the troops quickly dispatched a tanker, flew to the refueling airspace, and joined the tanker.

  The fighter jets had little fuel left at this point.

Suddenly, a long and narrow safe airspace on the radar screen caught the attention of the first pilot Wang Pengfei.

According to calculations, this airspace can provide a gap of a few minutes for refueling.

He quickly guided the refueling formation to rise in altitude and flew towards this airspace.

  "Enter the refueling position!" The refueler quickly instructed the fighter jets to start docking.

"6 meters, 4 meters, 3 meters... the docking is successful!" The "blood" was injected into the fighter rapidly and continuously.

  Soon, after refueling, the fighter jet quickly separated from the tanker and flew back to the battlefield...


  Heavy rain, all night long.

  The next day, when the pilots of the unit who participated in a large-scale comprehensive exercise arrived in the predetermined airspace, they found that there were thick clouds and accumulation of clouds, and they did not have the conditions for visual refueling.

At this moment, the fighter jets have taken off from other airports and headed for the "battlefield".

The task is imminent, and there is no room to back down.

  "Rise to the cloud-free area and prepare for refueling." The command came from the joint command post.

The flight team leader, Fang Yang, immediately adjusted the course, maneuvered the fighter jet to shuttle through the gaps in the clouds, and gradually ascended the height, daring not to be distracted at all.

The number of altitude indications is increasing, and the psychological pressure of the crew members is also increasing: the docking of this altitude has broken through the historical extreme value.



Finally, the fighter plane broke through the clouds and barely met the visual conditions.

At this point, the crew was sailing almost against the upper edge of the clouds, waiting for the receiver to close.

Soon, the fighter jets for the assault mission arrived on time.

After adjusting the posture, the refueling cone slowly stretched out from the refueling pod of the tanker... Finally, the fighter and the tanker were successfully docked.

A few minutes later, the fighter plane that successfully completed the aerial refueling was like a well-fed raptor, piercing the mission airspace.

  "As the Air Force's first tanker unit, we have a special mission and responsibility for the Air Force's aerial refueling," said Guo Mao, political commissar of the Air Force.

  In recent years, this unit has continuously tapped the potential of its equipment, and flew to new heights again and again.