Advances in air to air refuelling

Peter R. Thomas, Ujjar Bhandari, Steve Bullock, Thomas S. Richardson, Jonathan L. Du Bois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (SciVal)


An increasing interest over the last decade in developing unmanned aerial systems' technologies has prompted research into methods for automating air to air refuelling processes. Furthermore, for systems with increased autonomy the necessary logic and flight control systems to perform autonomous air to air refuelling is now being pursued. There has already been significant research in position tracking, rendezvous scheduling, apparatus modelling, wake effects, and vision-based sensors to support refuelling of unmanned systems and to increase the autonomy in manned aircraft refuelling. Many of these build upon considerable research and understanding that has matured for manned air to air refuelling. This paper reviews the current, and future, state of research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-35
Number of pages22
JournalProgress in Aerospace Sciences
Early online date28 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Air to air refuelling
  • Autonomous aerial refuelling
  • Drogue stabilisation
  • Flight control
  • Simulation and testing
  • Unmanned aerial systems


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