F-84 Photo and Text by Republic via the collection of Jon Brunker

Used by permission

Republic "Buddy" Refuelling System Increases Fighter Striking Range.

Republic has developed a low-cost aerial refuelling system that increases the striking range of jet fighter-bombers "by up to 70 per cent" and has been successfully tested on "Century Series" aircraft.
The system turns fighter planes into tankers in a matter of minutes through the use of a specially developed "buddy" in-flight refuelling system.
The latest development in the technique of in-flight refuelling of jet planes, which was pioneered by Republic, the buddy system incorporates a tank the same size and shape as a 450-gallon aircraft external fuel tank. This tank is divided into two compartments, one containing fuel, the other the refuelling mechanism. Fuel can be drawn from all the tanker plane's tanks. The mechanism uses a simple set of pipes, attached to the fuel compartment at one end and fitted with a funnel-shaped spout called a "drogue" at the other. It is lowered and raised hydraulically. The jet fighter needing fuel inserts a "probe" that extends from the leading edge of its wing into the drogue. With this system, jet fighters can refuel rapidly at high altitudes while travelling at high speed.

F-84F and RF-84F Buddy-system refueling

A Republic RF-84F Thunderflash photo-reconnaissance fighter in need of fuel approaches a Republic F-84F thunderstreak fighter-bomber equipped with a "buddy" refueling system tank at high speed. (Note "Probe" jutting out of RF - 84F's left wing.)

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