Omega Aerial Refueling Services, Inc. (OARS) has a very successful twelve-year history as the only company in the world conducting commercial fee-for-service in-flight refueling services. It has been a pleasure to provide our services to the U. S. Armed Forces and those of our allies, and the OARS/Omega Air team is looking forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.
The concept of commercial tanking originated in the late 1980’s with several Department of Defense studies. The brains behind the success of Omega’s commercial tanking program are brothers Ulick and Desmond McEvaddy, two Irish aviation entrepreneurs with headquarters in Dublin. The McEvaddys own heavy jet aircraft all around the world. Omega Air, Inc. (OAI), a U.S. based company, performed the engineering analysis and working with BAE Systems and TRACOR, converted a former Pan Am Airlines passenger aircraft, B-707-300, into a tanker in Mojave CA. The world’s first commercial tanker first flew in 1999. In 2000, the aircraft commenced U.S. Navy certification testing at NAS Patuxent River, MD, and in 2001 it was certified to refuel every type, model, series tactical aircraft in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps inventory.
From 2001 until 2006 the Omega tankers flew under USN contract as a sub-contractor to Flight International/L-3Com, which had an existing contract with the Navy flying Learjets. In 2004 Omega Aerial Refueling Services, Inc. (OARS) was created with corporate offices in Alexandria, VA to manage most aspects of the program, and to enable future growth in this niche market, and in 2007 OARS became the Prime on the USN contract. OARS currently leases the tanker aircraft from Omega Air, while Seven Q Seven, another subsidiary of OAI, is responsible for maintaining the aircraft. Since 2006, Omega has flown two K-707 tankers. The current 707 fleet is an original centerline configuration-N707MQ, while N624RH (a former RAAF tanker) has a MPRS configuration. Additional 707 fleet growth is planned as the company grows.
In late 2006, Omega began converting a former Japan Air Lines DC-10-40 aircraft to a KDC-10 configuration including two Flight Refueling Limited wing-mounted refueling pods. The aircraft was completed in 2007, debuting at the Farnborough Airshow that summer. Late in 2007, the KDC-10 completed U.S. Navy certification at NAS Patuxent River, MD, entering service in the spring of 2008. Omega refueling aircraft are based from our maintenance facility at Brunswick Airport, GA.
In 2007 OARS expanded its operations to include the first allied refueling flights by supporting the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) F/A-18 Hornets. In 2008, Omega completed its first global deployment by transporting a squadron of RAAF F/A-18s from RAAF Tindal, Australia, to Eielson AFB, Alaska for a USAF Red Flag exercise and back again. In May 2008 OARS also supported Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) using an Omega K-707 and KDC-10 to refuel GR-4A Tornadoes from New England to Arizona. Canadian Air Force CF-18s have also used Omega during past joint training.
Over the past 14 years the OARS/Omega Air Team has flown over 5,000 missions and 15,000 hours, while offloading 180 million pounds of fuel and 49,000 plugs, while maintaining an exceptional 97% Mission Completion Rate.
While many of the crewmembers and employees of OARS have a USAF tanker background, the key management of the company are all former Naval Aviators. We know what it is like to be “haze grey and underway” and deployed to some of the more exotic destinations of U.S. Navy and Marine tactical aircraft. We take great pride in flying our aircraft the Navy/Marine Corps way.
Flexibility & Reliability: Strategic Tanking the Navy/Marine Corps Way!