This chapter sets forth policy and criteria for the
establishment of aerial refueling tracks and anchors and the air traffic
control aspects of refueling operations. Administrative guidelines
also provided concerning the design, development, coordination,
and publication of aerial refueling tracks and anchors on a global
basis. Effective utilization of this information will permit aerial
refueling to be conducted with a minimum of planning and will ensure
maximum utilization of airspace. Refueling tracks/anchors are
published in DOD FLIP and have been established for universal use by all
Approved FAA/U.S. military ATC procedures and separation
standards will apply between military aerial refueling operations and
other airspace users. In order to provide for the safe and efficient
conduct of refueling operations, aerial refueling tracks/ anchors will be
planned to have a minimal impact on the air traffic system and still
satisfy user needs.
Approval of an aerial refueling
tract/anchor shall not preclude ATC from using such airspace after the
completion of the rendezvous, provided that separation is applied in
accordance with FAA Order 7110.65 between nonparticipating aircraft and
participating aircraft within the aerial refueling track/anchor.
The U.S. military services have agreed, to the maximum
extent possible, aerial refueling will be conducted on existing published
tracks/anchor tracks and to conduct aerial refueling operations
accordance with the provisions of this chapter which provides standard
guidance for all user commands involved in refueling operations.
Standard separation (in accordance with FAA Order 7110.65)
will be applied to aerial refueling aircraft.
FAA regional air traffic division managers (theater
commanders in areas not under FAA jurisdiction) may authorize deviations
from provisions of this chapter when military requirements cannot be
supported within the established standards. Approved deviations
shall be fully coordinated and should contain provisions to ensure a level
of safety equivalent to standards set forth in this chapter.
Theater commanders must comply with host
The following is a basic chronology of the events for a typical air
refueling operation in tracks and anchors. The exact sequence may
vary as dictated by operational circumstances. For air refueling
tracks, the en route rendezvous differs from the point-parallel rendezvous
(see paragraph 10-5-4a,
only in that the tanker does not delay at the air refueling control point
(ARCP) and both tanker and receiver aircraft enter the aerial refueling
a. Aerial Refueling Track.
Normally, the tanker aircraft enters
the track at the ARCP, and the receiver aircraft enters at the air
refueling initial point (ARIP).
1. Tanker requests delay at the ARCP and advises
ATC of the requested aerial refueling block altitudes.
2. ATC approves delay and issues clearance, or
advises tanker to expect clearance, for the air refueling block.
If the delay is approved, the
aircraft will enter the refueling pattern. If a hold is issued,
aircraft will enter a standard holding pattern or as assigned by
3. Tanker enters orbit pattern airspace for delay
If no clearance is received, aircraft
will hold in the direction of the air refueling pattern until their
filed air refueling control time
(ARCT). If no clearance is
received by the ARCT, the aircraft will proceed down the AR track on
its flight plan route; refueling is not authorized.
4. Receivers are cleared to requested altitude
and IFR separation is established prior to ARIP and release to
tanker communication rendezvous (C/R) frequency.
5. Tanker declares MARSA.
6. ATC releases receiver to tanker C/R frequency
not later than the ARIP.
7. ATC issues clearance to conduct aerial
refueling along the track, and issues block altitude clearance, if not
8. ATC shall ensure that nonparticipating
aircraft remain clear of the area until the rendezvous is complete.
9. Tanker and receiver aircraft complete
rendezvous and proceed down track. During aerial refueling, the
tanker is responsible for receiver aircraft navigation along the track
and for all tanker/receiver communications with ATC.
10. Tanker advises ATC of tanker and receiver end
aerial refueling altitude requests at least five (5) minutes prior to
11. At or prior to the exit point, ATC issues
tanker and receiver altitude clearances, transponder codes, and if
requested, amended routing.
12. Prior to exit, tanker vertically positions
the aircraft in the formation within the air refueling airspace to
facilitate breakup at the exit point (normally, tanker at highest
altitude of aerial refueling block and receiver at lowest altitude).
13. MARSA is terminated when standard ATC
separation is established and ATC advises MARSA is terminated.
b. Anchor Aerial Refueling.
1. Anchor aerial refueling operations involve the
same basic procedural elements as required for track refueling, except
that both tanker and receiver aircraft file a delay in the anchor area
and all air refueling activity is conducted within the anchor as per
2. Additional requirements, such as, alternate
entry/exit points, MRU procedures, etc., shall be specified in a
letter of agreement, as