10-5-1. PROVISIONS FOR CONDUCTING
a. Aerial refueling is based on the requirement
that participating aircraft operate and remain in specifically
1. Departure or other clearances which contain
the track or anchor as a route element are not intended to authorize
the aerial refueling operation itself.
A further specific ATC clearance for
the conduct of aerial refueling is required except on an ALTRV.
2. Throughout the refueling operation, controller
initiated heading assignments may not be effected without the
concurrence of the tanker.
3. Each aircraft must receive a specific
clearance prior to leaving the refueling track/anchor. In the
event of no clearance:
(a) The tanker(s) and receiver(s) will continue
on the tanker's filed route and assigned block altitudes until a
clearance to separate the flight can be obtained, or
(b) The aircraft will request an extension of
the aerial refueling track.
Aerial refueling operations are
terminated at the end of the refueling point unless an extension of
the aerial refueling track is received.
(c) Aerial refueling operations are normally
conducted on tracks or in anchor areas published in the DOD FLIP
b. There are certain mission requirements and
operational considerations which may necessitate en route refueling
operations or the establishment of special tracks/anchors not published
in the FLIP document or in MOA/ATCAA/joint-use restricted areas when
covered in letters of agreement.
1. En route refueling may be conducted between
aircraft within a flight when the refueling is performed within the
flights assigned altitude block/airspace. When this occurs, the
ARTCC/CERAP will be advised prior to commencing air refueling
2. When special tracks/anchors must be
established, the command processing the receiver aircraft shall ensure
compliance with the provisions set forth in Section
6 of this chapter.
c. All refueling operations shall be conducted on
an IFR flight plan at assigned altitudes/flight levels except as
provided for in paragraph 10-6-12
of this chapter.
d. All aircraft conducting aerial refueling
operations should request and be assigned at least three (3) consecutive
1. Refueling aircraft may use these
altitudes/flight levels as required to accomplish refueling
operations. If additional altitudes are required to satisfy
requirements, prior clearance shall be obtained from the appropriate
Additional altitudes shall not be
requested/granted for practice of emergency break-away procedures.
2. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply
when aircraft are operating in an ALTRV or when clearance has been
granted by ATC for the aircraft to operate as an en route cell
10-5-2. USER REQUIREMENTS
a. The user command requesting the establishment of
a track/anchor shall assign to a specific unit the responsibility for
scheduling all refueling operations on the track or anchor. The
scheduling unit shall review the track/anchor for utilization to
determine the need for retention.
b. The FAA or theater command headquarters, as
appropriate, shall assign responsibility to a specific Air Traffic
facility for coordinating refueling operations with the scheduling unit
for each track/anchor.
c. Intermediate commands shall be responsible for
developing standardized procedures for use by these units in scheduling
d. Any unit planning to conduct refueling
operations shall coordinate each operation with the unit assigned the
responsibility for scheduling the track/anchor.
10-5-3. MARSA APPLICABILITY FOR AERIAL
a. MARSA begins between the tanker and receiver(s)
when the tanker advises ATC that it is accepting MARSA.
b. After MARSA has been declared, controller
assigned course or altitude changes prior to rendezvous completion will
automatically void MARSA and are to be avoided.
c. Once rendezvous is completed:
1. Headings and altitudes assignments may be made
with the tanker concurrence with MARSA remaining in effect.
2. Each tanker shall keep receiver(s) aircraft in
either standard or nonstandard formation until further ATC clearances
are received and standard separation is achieved.
3. Other nonparticipating aircraft may be cleared
through the refueling block airspace with proper separation once the
tanker and receiver(s) have proceeded down track.
d. MARSA ends between the tanker and receiver(s)
1. The tanker and receiver aircraft are
vertically positioned within the air refueling airspace,
2. Standard ATC separation is established, and
3. ATC advises MARSA is terminated.
10-5-4. CRITERIA FOR SCHEDULING
a. Scheduling criteria to
ensure adequate airspace for aircraft conducting aerial refueling on
tracks shall be as follows:
1. Simultaneous refueling in the same direction:
(a) Authorized for single tracks. A
2,000-foot altitude separation shall be provided between assigned
(b) Authorized for parallel tracks which have
30 NM separation between centerlines. Refueling operations may
be accomplished on each track at the same altitudes. Multiple
refueling may be accomplished on each track if the altitude
separation required for single tracks is provided.
2. Simultaneous refueling in opposite directions:
(a) Not authorized on single tracks.
(b) May be authorized between single AR tracks,
which are vertically separated by a minimum of 2,000 feet between
The opposite direction procedure is
not intended to apply to all refueling tracks, due to airspace
configuration, traffic volume, etc. However, ARTCC/CERAP's are
expected to evaluate individual tracks for applicability upon
request. The processing of approved requests shall be in
accordance with the existing procedures in Section
4 of this chapter.
(c) Authorized for parallel tracks which have
30 NM separation between centerlines.
3. MARSA is applicable between refueling aircraft
operating on parallel tracks at the same altitude.
4. When necessary to reverse the direction of use
of a track, a mandatory exit time shall be prescribed by the
scheduling unit for the last refueling aircraft prior to reversing
direction. This exit time shall be the scheduled exit time plus
10 minutes. A 25-minute sterile time shall be added to the
mandatory exit time prior to scheduling the first tanker entry for the
opposite direction refueling.
5. Minimum Entry Intervals:
Rendezvous - A 40-minute entry interval shall be planned between
tankers at the same altitude except when operating in an
ALTRV. Tanker aircraft shall arrive at the ARCP no earlier
than ARCP minus
20 minutes and depart no later than ARCP plus 10
minutes unless specifically cleared by the appropriate ATC facility
for an extended delay. If clearance for a longer delay cannot
be granted or notification of receiver abort is received, the tanker
shall proceed down track until an amended ATC clearance can be
granted. Receiver aircraft shall arrive at the ARCP no earlier
than ARCP minus 5 minutes and depart no later than ARCP plus
(b) En Route Cell Rendezvous - A minimum
20-minute entry interval shall be scheduled between air refueling
cells at the same altitude and the same geographic point. Both
tanker(s) and receiver(s) shall arrive at the rendezvous point
within +/- 5 minutes of the rendezvous control time. (See FIG
10-5-2, and FIG
(c) Mixed Rendezvous - Air refueling tracks
scheduled for an en route rendezvous followed by a point-parallel or
vice versa, the minimum entry interval shall be 40 minutes.
b. Scheduling criteria to ensure adequate airspace
for aircraft refueling within an anchor area shall be as follows:
1. Single Anchors - Simultaneous refueling is
authorized for single anchors when standard separation is applied.
2. Multiple Anchors - Simultaneous refuelings may
be accomplished in anchors which have 80 NM separation between anchor
3. Multiple air refueling in one anchor/anchor
track - 2,000 feet vertical separation between altitude blocks shall
be planned and used.
4. Minimum Entry Intervals - A 10-minute interval
shall be maintained between the anchor area exit time of a tanker
departing from an anchor and the anchor area entry time of a tanker
arriving in the anchor at the same altitude.
The entry intervals outline in
subparagraphs a and b are permissive and are not intended to preclude
greater entry intervals which may be desirable or necessary to satisfy
specific track/anchor restrictions or mission requirements.
c. Tankers may be scheduled to enter the track or
anchor by direct routing to the ARCP or anchor point.
d. Tanker/receiver shall be scheduled to depart the
track or anchor at specified navigation checkpoints or exits. In
event of no clearance, the tanker(s) and
receiver(s) will continue on
the tanker's filed flight plan until a clearance to separate the flight
can be obtained, or request an extension of the aerial refueling track,
e. MARSA may be applicable between a refueling
operation and other aircraft specifically identified in the refueling
schedule or approved by the scheduling unit to transit the published
a. Each aerial refueling track/anchor shall have a
designated military unit responsible for scheduling all military flights
intending to use the track/anchor. If the designated military unit
does not have a continuous point of contact; i.e., a unit subject to
deployment or a unit not available during normal work days (ANG unit
working Wednesday-Sunday), then an alternate scheduling agency shall be
b. Each scheduling unit (primary or alternate)
1. Submit to the assigned ATC facility at least
24 hours in advance a daily refueling schedule for each track or
anchor including the:
(a) Requested refueling levels.
(b) Requested time of use.
(c) Call signs of tanker(s) and receiver(s).
The assigned ATC facility may
advise the scheduling unit to discontinue submitting daily refueling
schedules if concerned ATC facilities do not need advance
2. Advise the assigned ATC facility as soon as
practicable of any cancellations to the schedule.
3. Obtain approval for the following from the
assigned ATC facility:
(a) The schedule as submitted.
(b) Use of two altitude blocks simultaneously;
e.g., 150B160 and 250B260.
(c) En-route Cell Rendezvous operations.
4. Coordinate with other scheduling units to
resolve all conflicts in altitudes and/or times for tracks/anchors
which cross, underlie, or are parallel prior to submitting to the
assigned ATC facility.
5. Notify other scheduling units when assigned
tracks/anchors are to be used or crossed during No-Notice exercises.
6. Clearly indicate the following information on
the unit flying schedules:
(a) Track or anchor scheduled entry time.
(b) ARCT/anchor point control time.
(c) ARCP/anchor point departure time.
(d) Track or anchor scheduled/mandatory exit
c. Receiver Unit Responsibility - Each receiver
1. Obtain refueling times for each desired
track/anchor from the appropriate scheduling unit.
2. Provide call signs for the participating
aircraft to the scheduling unit not later than 1600 hours (scheduling
unit time) on Tuesday of the week preceding the scheduled activity.
3. Promptly notify the scheduling unit of any
canceled or delayed refueling.
d. ATC Facility Responsibility - The assigned ATC
facility shall forward the daily refueling schedule and any revisions to
other concerned ATC facilities. In the event disapproval is
necessary, suitable alternate times, altitudes, tracks, or anchors shall
be coordinated with the scheduling unit.
10-5-6. FLIGHT PLAN REQUIREMENTS
Instructions/information concerning the filing of flight
plan data for aerial refueling operations is contained in the Flight
Information Publication (FLIP) document. The following data shall
normally be included by refueling aircraft:
a. Refueling levels requested for the refueling
operations. All aircraft require
1,000 feet separation between
the lowest tanker altitude and the applicable receiver altitude from the
track ARIP to ARCP or from the ARIP to anchor point. If this
altitude separation cannot be provided, the participating aircraft are
not authorized to proceed with the rendezvous.
b. ARCP/anchor point.
When operating in an air refueling
anchor area, tankers are authorized to file directly to the anchor point
without crossing an anchor area entry point.
Tankers conducting an en route
rendezvous will also normally file to the ARIP.
d. Duration of delay at ARCP/anchor point.
e. Track or anchor number.
f. Track/anchor exit point.
10-5-7. TANKER AIRCRAFT/FORMATION
Tanker aircraft or formation commander shall be responsible
a. Remaining within the assigned aerial refueling
Air refueling will not take place until
MARSA is declared.
b. Notifying the appropriate ATC facility of all
altitudes vacated and not anticipated for further use by refueling
aircraft. Such altitudes shall not be reoccupied without further
c. Receiver navigation, regardless of the number of
receivers, after rendezvous completion through completion of refueling
operations (air refueling and MARSA have been terminated) except when
under control responsibility of a military radar facility while in an
anchor/anchor track area.
d. Maintaining communications with the appropriate
1. All communications during refueling
operations, including those concerning the receivers, shall be between
the ATC facility or military radar unit and tanker.
2. To the extent practical, receivers shall
establish communications with the tanker prior to or when departing
the ARIP on the specified air refueling frequency.
3. The tanker shall advise receivers if the
clearance to conduct air refueling has or has not been received.
4. Tanker(s) will assume position reporting
responsibility for the receivers upon rendezvous completion.
e. Requesting further en route clearance/altitude
1. From the ATC facility for both the receiver
and tanker at least
5 minutes prior to refueling completion, in
except when both aircraft are operating on an approved altitude
2. Through the radar controller when operating in
refueling anchors with a military radar unit (MRU). At least 5
minutes prior to completing refueling operations, the military radar
facility shall forward requests to the assigned ATC facility and
subsequently relay ATC clearances for the tanker and receiver aircraft
from the ATC facility.
f. Vertically positioning aircraft prior to
reaching the planned exit point, to facilitate the safe and efficient
transfer of responsibility from the military, under the provisions of
MARSA, to the ATC facility upon completion of refueling
operations. The vertical separation of receivers and tanker
aircraft shall be accomplished within the assigned altitudes.
g. Providing each receiver, upon request, with the
aircraft's position at the completion of refueling operations.
Additional information concerning amendments of changes to the
receiver's ATC clearance shall also be provided as appropriate.
h. Coordinate new aerial refueling track times with
the scheduler if unable to meet the scheduled ARCT(s) and minimum entry
10-5-8. RECEIVER AIRCRAFT
Receiver aircraft shall be responsible for:
a. Initiating the request for altitude change in
sufficient time to reach the required air refueling block altitude prior
to the ARIP.
b. Squawking normal when separation from tanker is
greater than three (3) miles.
c. Maintaining two-way radio contact with ATC until
released by ATC to the tanker.
The tanker commander shall receive specific ATC clearance
from the appropriate ATC facility for the following:
a. Entry to/exit from assigned aerial refueling
b. Altitudes requested for tanker and receiver
aircraft upon completion of air refueling.
c. Routing for each aircraft or formation flight
1. Exiting the refueling track prior to or beyond
the exit point, or
2. Different from the flight plan routing.
d. Extending the refueling operation beyond the
track/anchor exit point due to adverse winds, mission requirements, etc.
e. Use of altitudes in excess of those for which
specific clearance has been granted (i.e., tobogganing).
During refueling, altitude and
temperature conditions may exist which decrease the receiver's available
thrust and maneuverability. In this event, the receiver may
request a "toboggan" in order to receive a full fuel onload. The
toboggan maneuver is accomplished by the tanker descending wings level
at refueling airspeed and a constant rate of 200-300 FPM with the
receiver maintaining the refueling contact.
10-5-10. RADAR VECTOR ASSISTANCE
Radar vector assistance for rendezvous may be given by the
ATC facility when requested by participating aircraft when appropriate
altitude separation is provided. Assistance shall be terminated
when the receiver has visual contact with the tanker.
10-5-11. ATC FACILITY
The appropriate ATC facility shall ensure that:
a. Standard IFR separation is maintained until
MARSA is declared by the tanker.
b. After MARSA is declared, receiver aircraft are
released to tanker C/R frequency departing the ARIP, traffic conditions
permitting, or unless otherwise coordinated.
It is essential that receivers be
released to the tanker no later than the ARIP. If ATC cannot
release the receivers, additional instructions must be provided
immediately. Any delay in releasing the receivers significantly
complicates the air refueling.
c. Upon request, receiver or tanker aircraft are
provided assistance, to the extent possible, to confirm the other's
d. In the application of vertical separation based
on altitude vacating reports, the altitude vacated shall not be used
until the aircraft has reported reaching the next
e. If necessary to assign SODAR aircraft altitude
blocks which are outside the vertical limits of the tracks, a vertical
separation minimum of 2,000 feet will be maintained between assigned
f. An ATC clearance is issued and acknowledged
through the tanker aircrew for each aircraft or formation flight:
1. Refueling anchor.
2. Refueling track when exiting prior to/beyond
the exit point, or if routing is different from the flight plan route.
g. An en route altitude assignment is issued for
each aircraft or formation flight exiting a refueling track at the
flight plan exit point.
h. Receiver aircraft that have been cleared to
conduct air refueling and have departed the ARIP are issued instructions
pertaining to the operation of the transponder in accordance with
mileage parameters listed in the pertinent paragraphs on Military Aerial
Refueling in FAA Order 7110.65.
i. The ARTCC/CERAP shall notify the appropriate
tie-in AFSS/FSS at least 2 hours in advance when an established aerial
refueling track/anchor will be activated if all or part of the activity
will take place outside of applicable SUA or Class A airspace.
j. The tie-in AFSS/FSS shall transmit a NOMAM/D of
this planned refueling activity. The AFSS/FSS(s) will provide the
notice information to pilots during inflight/preflight briefings.
10-5-12. COMMUNICATIONS FAILURE
Aircraft experiencing two-way communications failure during
the conduct of aerial refueling shall continue flight in accordance with
the following procedures:
a. Squawk code 7600 for at least two (2) minutes
prior to exiting the track or anchor. After exit, continue squawk
in accordance with "Procedures for Two-Way Radio Failure IFR-VFR" set
forth in the DOD Flight Information Handbook.
b. Tanker aircraft which have not received altitude
instructions beyond the exit point shall exit the track or anchor at the
highest altitude specified in the clearance for the refueling portion of
the flight and proceed in accordance with "Procedures for Two-Way Radio
Failure IFR-VFR" set forth in the DOD Flight Information Handbook.
c. Receiver aircraft which have not received
altitude instructions beyond the exit point shall exit the track or
anchor at the lowest altitude specified in the clearance for the
refueling portion of the flight and proceed in accordance with
"Procedures for Two-Way Radio Failure IFR-VFR" as set forth in the DOD
Flight Information Handbook.
En Route Cell Rendezvous for Air Refueling
En Route Cell Rendezvous for Air Refueling
En Route Cell Rendezvous for Air Refueling
Prop Tanker/Tactical Fighter