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PSAB exercises hot refueling mission

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A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II and an F-16 Fighting Falcon park on the flight line during hot refueling at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Feb. 7, 2020. Airmen at PSAB executed hot refueling capabilities by generating easily accessible fuel and rapidly returning the diverse aircraft set to the skies as part of an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and two F-16 Fighting Falcons fly in formation over Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. The aircraft, assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, performed an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jets and two F-16 Fighting Falcons taxi down the flight line at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. These fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, performed an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II and an F-16 Fighting Falcon park on the flight line during an engine-running refueling at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. Airmen at PSAB executed hot refueling capabilities by generating easily accessible fuel and rapidly returning the diverse aircraft set to the skies as part of an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and two F-35A Lightning II fighter jets park on the flight line during a hot refueling at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. Airmen at PSAB executed hot refueling capabilities by generating easily accessible fuel and rapidly returning the diverse aircraft set to the skies as part of an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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Two U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron congratulate each other after a successful hot refueling mission at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. Airmen at PSAB executed hot refueling capabilities by generating easily accessible fuel and rapidly returning the diverse aircraft set to the skies as part of an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

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U.S. Airmen from the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron remove a fuel hose from a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during an engine-running refuel refueling at Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 7, 2020. Airmen at PSAB executed hot refueling capabilities by generating easily accessible fuel and rapidly returning the diverse aircraft set to the skies as part of an agile combat employment mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Giovanni Sims)

PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia --

Two U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and two F-35A Lightning II fighter jets demonstrated hot refueling capabilities, Feb. 7, 2020.

These 4th and 5th-generation fighter aircraft from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, performed a mission that exercised a critical capability of U.S. Air Forces Central Command. This illustrated the link between sound tactical employment, operational flexibility, and coalition strength in the AFCENT area of responsibility.  

“This demonstrates an important capability that our airmen and this base bring to the fight. Our ability to rapidly refuel and launch multiple types of combat aircraft provides a lot of flexibility as we promote regional stability and protect our coalition partners.” said Col. Robert Raymond, 378th Expeditionary Operations Group commander.

The Airmen at PSAB executed the hot refueling capability, refueling the mixed aircraft set without shutting down the aircraft or any of their systems and rapidly returning the aircraft to the skies to maintain air superiority. The hot refueling showed that the U.S. Air Force can quickly regenerate airpower and it showed another way PSAB is providing operational depth in the AOR.

“This is an important milestone for PSAB as we continue to establish and hone our combat capability.  We’re ensuring PSAB’s capability to rapidly receive, fuel, and launch combat aircraft – from any base – back into the fight.” said Brig. Gen. John C. Walker, 378th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “This exercise is about furthering CENTCOM’s operational depth in the AOR – and today I’m proud to have been a part of a team that took another step in that direction.”

While a variety of fighter jets have exercised training missions at PSAB, this is the first time the F-35s have visited. This mission tested a proof of concept, providing forces the opportunity to move rapidly across the AOR, test the capability of Airmen, and solidify the interoperability of aircraft and maintainers.