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The Need for Fuel

The 3rd Aerospace Rescue and Recover Group determined that if a downed Airman could be reached within fifteen minutes, the chances of rescue were good. However, after thirty minutes or more, the survivor’s chances of being rescued drastically decreased.

Unfortunately, the US Air Force’s rescue helicopters, mainly the Kaman HH-43 Pedro and Sikorsky CH-3, lacked the range to rescue crews more from their respective bases without stopping to refuel.

This was not only due to the limited fuel capacity, but also because of the extra weight the fuel added. Due to the mountainous terrain of Southeast Asia, it was necessary to dump fuel in order lighten the helicopter to fly over the higher elevations.

In response to this limitation, the Air Rescue Service requested an air-to-air refueling capability for the CH-3 in 1964.

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