56 ARS Showcases KC-46 Capabilities Through Silver Paladin

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The KC-46 Pegasus’ versatility and battle readiness is continually showcased in missions performed by Airmen in the 56th Air Refueling Squadron. The ability to transport cargo and passengers, as well as its air refueling capabilities, demonstrates the aircraft’s adaptability to execute the global mobility mission.

The 56th ARS conducted a mission called Silver Paladin that required their many capabilities Jan. 27-28 at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. 

Two KC-46s flew to Luke AFB, where they loaded roughly 30,000 pounds of cargo on one aircraft and 108 passengers from the 56th Operations Group on the other. This was one of the largest passenger movements on a KC-46 to date.

On the next leg of their mission to Tyndall AFB, Florida, the KC-46s were joined by a KC-10 Extender. Enroute to Tyndall AFB, the three aircraft refueled sixteen F-35 Lighting IIs. 

“These types of missions really benefit the 56th,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Jonathan Gise, 56th ARS assistant director of operations. “At the formal training unit, we learn the full system capability of the tanker. Moving cargo, unloading and air refueling allows us to deepen and strengthen our experience.”

While the pilots and boom operators practice these operations often, this exercise was different.

“We do a lot of simulated cargo training at Altus,” said Tech Sgt. Ian Sweaney, 56th ARS boom operator. “So gaining that real world experience, through this mission, is valuable.”

When asked about the results of the mission, Gise said it was an “absolute success,” despite having to adapt to unforeseen circumstances

“We were able to move the cargo and passengers in one day,” said Gise. “We had our situation where an aircraft couldn’t air refuel, but we were flexible and the others were able to take all the fighters.”

The 97th Air Mobility Wing’s vision is to be “A premier installation forging the world’s most inspired, proficient and adaptive mobility warriors to deliver airpower for America.” Missions like Silver Paladin get them one step closer to executing that vision.