ADF Chinook completes ‘fat cow’ refuelling of Abrams tanks.

By: Robert Dougherty

Photo: An Australian Army CH-47 Chinook from the 5th Aviation Regiment conducts a refuel for the 2nd Cavalry Regiments M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank while on Exercise Eagle Walk at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland. Photo: LCPL Riley Blennerhassett.

The Australian Defence Force has conducted a tactical refuelling of three M1 Abrams tanks by CH-47 Chinook in a manoeuvre hilariously named “fat cow”.

It was the first time in five years that the ADF has been able to refuel the 2nd Cavalry Regiment vehicles with the 5th Aviation Regiment aircraft, at Townsville Field Training Area during Exercise Eagle Walk.

The US Army has also previously used the refuelling technique to allow forward arming and refuelling points in locations where ground resources are not available. In that case, an aircraft is rapidly employed for short duration, forward operations and cleared within minutes using pressure refuelling for faster aircraft turnaround times.

Two CAV tank squadron Commanding Officer Major George Flannery said the M1 Abrams are “very thirsty” despite being the most protected and lethal weapon system on the battlefield.

“Our land refuelling assets, such as the HX 77 trucks can’t always go in places with rough terrain,” MAJ Flannery said.

“So with these capabilities working together, we know refuelling can occur anytime, anywhere.”

“It’s important for us to practise this method, not only to identify ways we can do it quicker and easier in the future, but also to prepare soldiers for upcoming warfighting exercises like Exercise Talisman Sabre.

“The training went very smoothly considering it was the first time these soldiers have participated in an activity like this.”

Armoured crewman in the 2 CAV, Trooper Travis Brown, said it was his first time being part of a tactical refuelling.

“You get to see stuff you don’t see every day,” Trooper Brown said.

“For exercises like this, it’s good for us to be in a field environment making mistakes, so we know how to fix them.

“This leads us into the next tactical exercise more prepared for what’s to come.”


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