ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron have exercised a new refueling capability during exercise COPE NORTH 2018 (CN18) at Tinian U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Feb. 26.
The Helicopter Expedient Refuel System (HERS) allows the 36 AS C-130s the rapid deployment of refueling assets in an austere environment, enabling other aircraft to continue their humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
“The idea is to able to bring in fuel, drop it off, store it temporarily and put it on different aircraft as a sort of in-the-field staging of refueling capabilities,” said Capt. Andrew Kochman, 36th Mobility Response Squadron assistant director of operations.
With a maximum capacity of 3,000 gallons, the HERS enables the C-130J to quickly unload part of its own fuel to be used on other aircraft.
“We build our fuel bladder, our pumps and everything that we need to begin refueling out on the field,” said Kochman. “After, we take on fuel from our source, in this case a C-130J, into the equipment that we brought up with us. Once we have completed that task, we are ready to start pushing gas to whoever needs it.”
During a HA/DR scenario, the HERS allows the Airmen to quickly refuel other aircraft, not just Air Force assets.
“For this exercise, we had a U.S. Navy helicopter come in and we were able to refuel it, so we are able to work not with just Air Force assets but really throughout our whole military,” said Kochman. “Those helicopters, their mission is search and rescue and they might not be able to refuel if they needed a hard-fixed asset [traditional fixed fuel source]. Being able to refuel them out in the field and have them continue their operations just makes us that much more successful in conducting our HA/DR operations.”
Through the practice of this new capability, it ensures the U.S. Military and allied partners participating in CN18 are prepared for any possible real-world HA/DR scenarios in the future.
“By coming here and staying current on this new capability, learning new techniques, testing new equipment, and seeing how much flexibility we have with all of these operations, we become a significantly more proficient unit,” said Kochman. “It’s also important for our international partners to be able to see how these operations work and understand how they can have a role in it as well, both with us and on their own in the future.”