Airbus has demonstrated automatic air-to-air refuelling in a flight test that took place above the Atlantic Ocean earlier this year.
The company said Friday it used its own tanker aircraft to refuel an F-16 unit via the A3R system that enables the refuelling process.
A3R is designed to reduce the need for human operator presence during aircraft refuelling. The system automatically releases a boom and controls alignment with the receiver aircraft.
The test marks a new milestone in the development of Airbus' tanker aircraft, known as the Multi-Role Tanker Transport, or MRTT. Portugal provided the F-16 aircraft used in the test.
Airbus aims to have MRTT and A3R ready for certification activities by 2021.