A Comparison of In-flight Refueling Methods for Fighter Aircraft: Boom-receptacle vs. Probe-and-drogue

Main Article Content

Brian J. Theiss


Aerial refueling dates back to the very beginnings of flight and has developed into two very different and incompatible methods. While the U.S. Air Force primarily uses a boom-receptacle method, the U.S. Navy uses a probe-and-drogue method. Cross-service commonality of aerial refueling methods is a concept that has the potential to save money and increase the tactical abilities of the armed services. This paper serves to examine the feasibility of using a common method of aerial refueling for fighter/attack aircraft (collectively referred to as fighter aircraft). Safety, reliability, weight and refuel rates have been examined for each method. Currently there can be no set standard for fighter aircraft. The requirements for the U.S. Navy are such that they would not be able to utilize boom-receptacle refueling adequately, and similarly the requirements for the U.S. Air Force are such that probe-and-drogue refueling would not be feasible. There are many variables to consider with each aircraft and its intended use that affect which method is best incorporated.

Article Details

Peer-Reviewed Articles