Night Aerial Refueling Capability for Italian HH-101
The Italian Air Force is the first in Europe to achieve certification for helicopter night aerial refueling in a completely autonomous way using their HH-101 with the KC-130J Hercules tanker
Aeronautica Militare Italiana, September 21, 2018 - The Italian air force successfully completed the certification of the night flight aerial refueling capabilities of the first crew of 15° Stormo (Air Wing) with the HH-101 helicopter.
The HH-101 is among the very few helicopters in the world to be able to perform this kind of operation.
The Air Force is the first air force in Europe to achieve this type of qualification in a completely autonomous way, thanks to a certification and training process that has also involved KC-130J Hercules tanker from the 46th Air Brigade of Pisa and a team of experts of the 311th Group of the Experimental Flight Department of Pratica di Mare.
It is an operational capacity of excellence on the international scene shared at this time in Europe only with the French Air Force, who thanks to the support of the 46 Air Brigade which supply the Hercules were able to complete the same certification for their H225M helicopters.
This milestone constitutes a further and important step in the process of operational integration of the new HH-101 helicopter into service.
The 15th Air Wing, part of the Special Support Forces Command, guarantees the search and rescue of flight crews 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as well as contributing to activities of public support such as the search for missing persons at sea or mountains, the emergency medical transport (MedEvac), forest firefighting activity as well as Slow Mover Interception (SMI) of small airplanes.
The training level of the crews, the characteristics of the machines supplied and the use of special equipment and techniques, such as the use of night vision goggles (NVG), often make the Air Force the only component capable of successfully managing the most complex emergency situations thanks, for example, to their ability to operate during day or night and in marginal weather conditions.
Since its creation, the 15th Air Wing have saved over 7200 people whose lives are in danger so far.