6 July 1951 Aerial refueling is used under combat conditions for the first time, with a KB-29 Superfortress refueling four RF-80 Shooting Stars over North Korea.
n January 1948, General Carl Spaatz, then the first Chief of Staff of the new United States Air Force, made aerial refueling a top priority of the service. In March 1948, the USAF purchased two sets of FRL’s looped-hose in-flight refueling equipment, which had been in practical use with British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) since 1946, and manufacturing rights to the system. FRL also provided a year of technical assistance. The sets were immediately installed in two Boeing B-29 Superfortresses, with plans to equip 80 B-29s.
Flight testing began in May 1948 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and was so successful that in June orders went out to equip all new B-50s and subsequent bombers with receiving equipment. Two dedicated air refueling units were formed on June 30, 1948: the 43d Air Refueling Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and the 509th Air Refueling Squadron at Walker Air Force Base, New Mexico. The first ARS aircraft used FRL’s looped-hose refueling system, but testing with a boom system followed quickly in the autumn of 1948.
The first use of aerial refueling in combat took place during the Korean War, involving F-84 fighter-bombers flying missions from Japanese airfields, due to Chinese-North Korean forces overrunning many of the bases for jet aircraft in South Korea, refueling from converted B-29s using the drogue-and-probe in-flight refueling system with the probe located in one of the F-84’s wing-tip fuel tanks.