The Probe and Drogue
air-to-air refuelling methodology practiced by IAF pilots requires exceptional flying skills as the receiving aircraft has to accurately insert the receptacle probe into the basket shaped drogue trailing behind the fuel tanker aircraft.
Probe and drogue
refuelling hardware was mounted on the two robots to replicate the large range of relative motion in the final approach to refuelling.
Revising the Air Force's conventional JSF aircraft refueling method from a boom to a probe and drogue
would require modifying most of its current KC-135 tanker aircraft at an estimated cost of $2.
Equipped with the probe and drogue
system, the AV-8B is able to take advantage of Marine KC-130, Navy S-3 and Air Force KC-10 tankers or other compatible allied tankers within the area of operations.
This approach opens valuable trade space for future developers to choose between various fixed and modular implementations of proven probe and drogue