US Marine Corps, February 19, 2015 - SATTAHIP, Thailand by Cpl Joshua Murray – Five MV-22 Ospreys flew over 2,200 nautical miles to participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2015 Feb. 7-21, and in the process, marked the first time the Osprey has been refueled by the U.S. Air Force KC-10 aircraft in-flight.
The Ospreys traveled from Clark Air Base, the Philippines to Utapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Kingdom of Thailand. They were met in the sky by the KC-10 aircraft, which delivered 40,000 pounds of fuel midflight.
This event effectively demonstrated what the MV-22 Osprey can bring to the table, said Capt. Victor Bockman, Marine Medium-tilt Rotor Squadron 265, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
"This flight was a huge success for many reasons," Bockman said. "Not only did we conduct two aerial refuels, but we effectively showcased the expanding envelope of the MV-22 and it's ability to range the entirety of the Pacific Command."
Throughout Cobra Gold, the Ospreys have continued to showcase their versatility on different operations.
"We've conducted the noncombatant evacuation operation, bilateral training with the Thai Air Force, combat support training and we’ve also done some aerial delivery operations," said Bockman.
The U.S. Air Force KC-10 aircraft played a key role in the Ospreys’ trip to Utapao.
"The KC-10 really made our trip a lot easier," Bockman said. "It is a very capable platform that can hold more fuel than the C-130s we are used to working with. The KC-10 also acted as a radio relay and communicated our location to controlling agencies throughout the flight."
The Ospreys’ demonstration showed their abilities to remain an asset to any operation in the Pacific.
"We can fly at any altitude,"Bockman said. "We can carry troops or cargo, and we can be anywhere for any operation the Marine Corps needs us."
Cobra Gold is an annual exercise, now in its 34th iteration, designed to advance regional security, improve cooperation with partner nations and find effective solutions to common challenges.