Three UK-based wings conduct first-time FARP exercise

Two U.S. Air Force 352d Special Operations Squadron Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element, or DAGRE, team members prepare for a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The DAGRE provides security for Air Force Special Operations aircraft transiting airfields where security is limited. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

Two U.S. Air Force 352d Special Operations Squadron Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element, or DAGRE, team members prepare for a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The DAGRE provides security for Air Force Special Operations aircraft transiting airfields where security is limited. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

Two U.S. Air Force 352d Special Operations Squadron Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element team members assist with airfield security while a 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster finishes unloading F-15C Eagle, from RAF Lakenheath weapons crews and supplies from an MC-130J Commando II during a Forward Arming and Refueling Point, or FARP, exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England.  The FARP exercise included two MC-130Js along with four F-15Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

Two U.S. Air Force 352d Special Operations Squadron Deployed Aircraft Ground Response Element team members assist with airfield security while a 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster finishes unloading F-15C Eagle, from RAF Lakenheath weapons crews and supplies from an MC-130J Commando II during a Forward Arming and Refueling Point, or FARP, exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The FARP exercise included two MC-130Js along with four F-15Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron forward arming and refueling point, or FARP, technician carries out one of the 100 foot hoses used to refuel four F-15C Eagles, from RAF Lakenheath, during a FARP exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England.  A FARP is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron forward arming and refueling point, or FARP, technician carries out one of the 100 foot hoses used to refuel four F-15C Eagles, from RAF Lakenheath, during a FARP exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. A FARP is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle lands on RAF Mildenhall, England, before being refueled by an MC-130J Commando II July 26, 2017. Exercise Rapid Eagle is the first time a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise was conducted with an MC-130 and an F-15C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle lands on RAF Mildenhall, England, before being refueled by an MC-130J Commando II July 26, 2017. Exercise Rapid Eagle is the first time a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise was conducted with an MC-130 and an F-15C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point, or FARP, technician begins to hook up a fuel hose to a F-15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath as U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Nichols, 100th LRS FARP technician stands nearby with a fire extinguisher during a FARP exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The FARP exercise brought together the 352d Special Operations Wing, 48th Fighter Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point, or FARP, technician begins to hook up a fuel hose to a F-15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath as U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Nichols, 100th LRS FARP technician stands nearby with a fire extinguisher during a FARP exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The FARP exercise brought together the 352d Special Operations Wing, 48th Fighter Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Sequan Gill, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point technician runs out a fuel hose to an F-15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. A FARP allows for aircraft to be able to rearm and refuel at an austere location and return to the mission without having to land at an actual base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Sequan Gill, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point technician runs out a fuel hose to an F-15C Eagle from RAF Lakenheath July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. A FARP allows for aircraft to be able to rearm and refuel at an austere location and return to the mission without having to land at an actual base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

A U.S. Air Force 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster hooks up a fuel hose running from an MC-130J Commando II to a pump July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The pump is used to assist with pumping any residual fuel from the hose back into the MC-130J. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

A U.S. Air Force 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster hooks up a fuel hose running from an MC-130J Commando II to a pump July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. The pump is used to assist with pumping any residual fuel from the hose back into the MC-130J. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, right, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point  technician aids a U.S. Air Force 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster with removing residual fuel from a hose using a tool called a ‘squeegee’ July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. During the Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise, approximately 27,000 pounds of fuel was transferred from an MC-130J to four F-15Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Ricci, right, 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron Forward Arming and Refueling Point technician aids a U.S. Air Force 67th Special Operations Squadron loadmaster with removing residual fuel from a hose using a tool called a ‘squeegee’ July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England. During the Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise, approximately 27,000 pounds of fuel was transferred from an MC-130J to four F-15Cs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luke Milano)

RAF Milenhall -- Two MC-130Js from the 67th Special Operations Squadron conducted a Forward Arming and Refueling Point exercise July 26, 2017, on RAF Mildenhall, England.

A Forward Arming and Refueling Point, or FARP, is an austere location near a combat zone where fuel and supplies can be transferred from one aircraft to another.

“The FARP gives us the ability to ground refuel fixed wing, tilt-rotor and rotor assets,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Nighbert, 67th SOS operations superintendent.

Having a FARP capability plays an important role for deployed aircraft in austere locations by allowing our forces to shorten the amount of time needed to return to the mission.

“This allows our air assets to engage the enemy, get refueled, rearmed and get back to the fight quickly,” said Maj. John Kauzlaric, 67th SOS combat systems officer. “It doesn’t require us to have a fully manned base, which allows for more flexibility.”

Although FARP exercises are common within the special operations community, exercise Rapid Eagle was unique because it included the MC-130J and the F-15C.

"This was the first ever FARP between any MC-130 variant and an F-15C,” said Lt. Col. Jason Zumwalt, 493rd Fighter Squadron commander. “It was important because it helped to prove the concept of integrating the FARP capabilities of the MC-130 with the F-15C.  This capability could provide improved flexibility for future operations."

Because of the nature of the exercise, it included the involvement of three separate wings: the 48th Fighter Wing, 352d Special Operations Wing and 100th Air Refueling Wing, each having their own part to play in the overall success of the exercise.

During the exercise, MC-130Js flew to RAF Lakenheath, picked up F-15C Eagle maintenance crews and armament supplies, returned to RAF Mildenhall to drop them off, then continued on to a FARP location to refuel four F-15Cs from the 493rd Fighter Squadron assigned to RAF Lakenheath, England.

The 100th ARW supplied the FARP hose deployment personnel from the 100th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

This was also the first time the 67th SOS performed FARP with a fixed-wing fighter aircraft, added Kauzlaric.

"The exercise was a great success and allowed Airmen from the three wings to work together in a new and exciting way,” said Zumwalt. “Exercises like this help increase our ability to integrate our capabilities and train our Airmen in unfamiliar tasks."

The success of Rapid Eagle holds promise for forthcoming exercises and missions using the MC-130J and F-15C.

“In the future, we look at expanding to a bigger scale exercise that is more complex, and eventually use in combat operations,” said Kauzlaric.