Air-to-air refuelling (AAR)

Air to Air Refueling (AAR) can be simulated. Under normal circumstances, AAR will be conducted when an aircraft, known as the "receiver" will join up and maintain extremely close formation with another aircraft known as the "tanker" for a specified amount of time to simulate the fuel offload. The time the "receiver" and "tanker" are required to remain in formation together is dependent on the size of the receiver aircraft. As in the real world, a fighter takes much less time to refuel than say an E-3. An AAR Area (AARA) is a defined area encompassing both a racetrack shape AAR track and it's protected airspace. There are 2 key geographical reporting points on an AAR Track, the ARIP and the ARCP, sometimes there is also an exit point. Air Refueling Control Point The planned geographic point over which the receivers arrive in the observation/pre-contact position with respect to the assigned tanker. Air Refueling Initial Point The geographical point, at which time the receiver enters the refueling track initiates radio contact with the tanker and begins to maneuver to RV. MARSA (Military Assumes Responsibility for Separation of Aircraft) begins between a tanker and receivers when the tanker advises GCI/AWACS or ATC Controller that it is accepting MARSA. MARSA ends between tanker and receiver when the tanker advises ATC that the tanker and receiver are vertically positioned within AR airspace and ATC advises MARSA is terminated. After MARSA has been declared, controller assigned course or altitude changes will automatically void MARSA and are to be avoided. Once the rendezvous is complete, headings and altitude assignments may be made with tanker concurrence with MARSA remaining in effect. On rendezvous completion, each tanker shall keep receiver aircraft within 3 miles of the tanker until MARSA is terminated. After AR clearance is received and until rendezvous is completed, AR airspace from the ARIP to the ARCP is sterilized. After rendezvous is completed and the tankers and receivers proceed down track, other non-participating aircraft may be cleared through the AR block airspace's with proper separation. If more than one receiver is scheduled to meet with the tanker, the following procedure will be implemented: After establishing visual and radio contact with the tanker, the receiver flight lead will begin lining up with the tankers left wing or tail depending on the position of the refueling boom. The rest of the flight will then line up in formation on the right wing of the tanker with each aircraft 45 degrees back and to the right of the aircraft in front of it, maintaining a 900 ft spread. Once the flight lead has completed their simulated AR, they will clear to the left of the tanker and hold loose formation within 3nm of the tanker, the next aircraft in the formation will then move over to the pre-contact position behind the refueling boom ready to simulate AR. This process will continue until all the receivers have simulated the AR process, and upon completion the tanker will advise receiver flight lead that they are cleared to continue en-route and to contact their controlling agency.