US Air Force shows off new refueling techniques at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

The United States Air Force is changing up the way it operates its fleet of refueling tankers. It comes amid new challenges from China and Russia.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst held a demonstration on Tuesday showing off the new techniques that keeps planes on the ground for less time when they are in combat zones.
“We’re constantly looking to do things better, faster, more efficient,” says Maj. Eric “Rebel” Emerson.
A New Jersey Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon flew from Atlantic City to Burlington County as part of the demonstration. Flight time was five minutes. Emerson was at the controls.
“Been to Afghanistan, UAE, Iraq, Syria, Horn of Africa,” he says.
If the plane needs a fill up in the sky after a flight or long patrol, Emerson can turn to one of the Air Force KC-135 Stratotankers for fuel.
But who gasses up the flying gas station?
“My personal opinion: We are the elite tanker group,” says Sgt. Herbert Grant.
On Tuesday, members of the 141st Air Refueling Squadron and 108th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron gathered to train and demonstrate a new technique that can keep the Air Force tankers that allow midair refueling around the world safer and more efficient.
During typical refueling, all the engines are shut off. But leaving one engine running cuts refueling time from five hours to one, which is critical in a potential combat situation.
“We could get into the air a lot faster, so by doing this we'd have a better chance of landing somewhere and getting back into the air in a hostile environment,” says Tech Sgt. James Kirchoffer.
“It increases our survivability by decreasing the amount of time it takes to get off the ground in the event there’s incoming missiles,” says Lt. Col. Matthew Brito.
What is called “hot pit refueling” is part of a larger Air Force strategy the Pentagon has dubbed “Agile Combat Employment.” Service members tested it out recently during a training exercise at an air base in Puerto Rico.
“They’re used to seeing large aircraft depart with two minute intervals,” says Brito. “We did it in a little over 10 seconds.”
The next deployment for the KC-135 tankers will be to the Western Pacific Ocean.