In this DAKOTA HUNTER BLOG, you will read about the concept of the Post-War Airborne Aircraft Carriers. During WWII, the flight range of the USAF long-distance bombers made huge leaps forward with every new model that came out. Rapid technological development in Aero Engine Power output allowed upscaling to unprecedented dimensions of the airframe, wings, and internal fuel tanks. All that extra fuel stretched the flight range to well over 10.000 miles!
But in the end, all wingtip-coupling tests came to no avail, as the larger long-distance Airborne Tankers based on the modern heavy Bomber designs arrived on the scene. It was this Tanker-converted Bomber aircraft that could provide in a simpler way the much-wanted flight-range extension to the thirsty escorting Jet Fighters, by means of a much less risky coupling and refueling system with a basket-shaped ‘nipple’ that flies behind the Tanker aircraft on a long tube or boom.
Nowadays, in Aerial refueling, also referred to as air refueling, in-flight refueling (IFR), air-to-air refueling (AAR), there are two main refueling systems: The probe-and-drogue, which is simpler to adapt to existing aircraft, and the flying boom, which offers faster fuel transfer, but requires a boom operator’s supervision.