Flight Lieutenant Luke Moran is having the most fun a pilot can have sitting behind a desk.

Embedded with the United States Air Force on Operation Accordion, the pilot works in the air refuelling control team in the Middle East ensuring coalition aircraft remain topped up with fuel.

Responsible for the KC-30 multi-role tanker transporter aircraft in the Combined Air Operations Centre, Flight Lieutenant Moran said air-to-air refuelling was unique but a pivotal aspect of modern-day air operations. 

“I pair all receiver requests to air-to-air refuelling tankers to ensure aircraft operating in the area can maintain a longer time on task, thanks to the tankers re-fuelling them in flight,” Flight Lieutenant Moran said. 

He said when dealing with aircraft tanker types from different countries, their individual requirements and abilities could become complex. 

“Finding the best way to use those different assets adds efficiency but also redundancy to a plan that can be managed and executed well,” Flight Lieutenant Moran said. 

The Combined Air Operations Centre at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations in the US Air Forces Central Command region. 

It comprises joint and coalition teams that execute day-to-day combined air and space operations, providing rapid reaction, positive control, coordination, and de-confliction of weapon systems.

I pair all receiver requests to air-to-air refuelling tankers to ensure aircraft operating in the area can maintain a longer time on task, thanks to the tankers re-fuelling them in flight.

“I have gained a wider understanding of the coalition involvement and in-depth knowledge of air planning factors,” he said.

Flight Lieutenant Moran deployed to the Middle East on Operation Okra in 2018, as a KC-30 pilot.  

“This job is different to my last deployment but having that flying experience enhances my understanding of the current airspace, role and operational requirements to produce a better and efficient tanker plan,” Flight Lieutenant Moran said. 

“I have been fortunate enough to work with a dedicated and experienced team. 

“I am having the most fun a pilot can have sitting behind a desk.”

Flight Lieutenant Moran said the ADF provided a challenging and rewarding career for those interested. 

“I have been lucky to serve nine years as an Army reservist, experiencing a variety of roles on Operation Anode and Astute, and now as a pilot,” Flight Lieutenant Moran said. 

“It’s an experience across two different service careers I will always cherish.”