The 31st Wing A400M in air refueling operations for the Spanish Air Force

The participation of the 31st Air Force wing, which operates the A400M, in the recent Ocean Sky 2020 exercise has demonstrated the unit’s capabilities in an ongoing campaign to refuel fighter aircraft.

The performance of one of its A400M tanker variant or TK.23 according to its military designation in the context of Ocean Sky 2020 in the waters of the Canary Islands could indeed be excellently defined. For two weeks, the A400M moved to Gando (Gran Canaria), the headquarters of Ocean Sky 2020. The registered TK.23-07 10208 31-07 made two daily departures of about three hours to refuel most aircraft in the air participants .

It also had to multiply its activity, originally foreseen by the failure of the other participating refueling aircraft, an experienced Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker of the French armies de lAir, the 13 fighter planes of the Dassault Aviation Rafale des C (single seat) and displaced B (two seaters) .

The 31st wing’s A400M took flight days for five days until the French dispatched another C-135FR from their base in Istres (southern France). Every morning and every afternoon before the fighter planes took off, the mammoth (this is the radio code of T.22 / TK.23) took off and after the flight south to the so-called Delta-79 to the designated gas stations, which for this purpose with the Names of big fuel distributors like Repsol, Texaco, Cepsa, Petronor etc. were baptized.

The Spanish A400M has refueled both the Spanish Eurofighters (wing 11 and wing 14) as well as the F-18 (from wing 12, wing 15 and the hosts from wing 46) and the Rafale from Arme de lAir. The only exception was the Spanish Navy’s Boeing AV-8B Plus Harrier II as the relevant tests and certifications have not yet been carried out, although it is expected to be carried out soon.

The veterans C-130H Hercules and the A400M of the 31st Wing, along with those of the same Arme de lAir model, played an important role in the transport of personnel and material between the continental bases and those of the Canary Archipelago, both in action and in action the wrinkle. (Julio Maz Sanz)

Photo: A TK.23 refueling the EF-18M fighter-bombers from Wing 12. (Photo wing 12)

Wing 31 maintenance personnel check one of the gas stations on their A400M on the platform of Gando Air Force Base. (Photo Julio Maz /

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