September 13, 2006 With two aircraft flying about 50 feet apart at hundreds of miles per hour, aerial refueling, even under the most ideal conditions, is an exacting manoeuvre. In the last few weeks, both Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Boeing have demonstrated new technologies that will improve safety for tanker aircrews and the airplanes receiving critical fuel. DARPA), in a joint effort with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, performed the first-ever autonomous probe-and-drogue airborne refueling operation on August 30, at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Boeing meanwhile, used its new KC-767 Tanker to demonstrate a new technology using a series of cameras mounted on the tanker's fuselage. The KC-767 Remote Vision System (RVS) provides high-definition stereoscopic imagery to the aircraft's boom operator stationed behind the KC-767 cockpit.
Read the full article: World’s first hands-off autonomous air refueling engagement