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The First A330 MRTT Aircraft Platform Delivered For Military Modification

The A330 MRTT aircraft (pictured) has significant strategic airlift capability, with the capability of carrying up to 272 passengers and a combination of commercial and military cargo pallets. Photo credit: EADS.
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Jun 08, 2006
The initial A330 aircraft to be converted into a multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) was delivered to the final outfitting facility, where the Royal Australian Air Force aircraft will receive mission equipment that includes a state-of-the-art centerline Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS), two under-wing hose and drogue pods, plus a centerline hose and drogue refueling unit.

This milestone marks another step in the development of the world's most advanced aerial tanker - which has been chosen by both Australia and the United Kingdom, and is the primary aircraft platform of the KC-30 being offered by Northrop Grumman for the U.S. Air Force's tanker fleet recapitalization.

Delivery of the first A330 MRTT Australian platform was made at EADS CASA's Getafe, Spain facility in the presence of Air Vice-Marshall Clive Rossiter, the head of the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation's Aerospace Systems Division. He was joined at the event by Squadron Leader Ewan Ward, the Royal Australian Air Force's Air Refueling Project Director; Susan Tanner, Australia's Ambassador to Spain; and representatives from Northrop Grumman, EADS CASA and EADS North America.

"This aircraft platform delivery reinforces the fact that EADS' newest next generation tanker is well underway and moving forward in production," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., Chairman and CEO of EADS North America. "Today's milestone follows recent in-flight evaluations of the A330 MRTT's advanced fly-by-wire refueling boom, a key element of Northrop Grumman's KC-30 offering to the U.S. Air Force as a KC-135 replacement."

The first A330 MRTT aircraft is painted in the Royal Australian Air Force's colors, and has completed an initial series of flight tests in April, including flying in the receiver position behind a French Air Force C-135FR tanker. This test demonstrated the A330 MRTT's flight capability to be refueled by another tanker, using an upper fuselage-mounted receptacle.

Australia is acquiring five A330 MRTTs to provide refueling services for the country's F/A-18s, F-111s and Joint Strike Fighters, as well as its AWACS airborne warning and control aircraft. The A330 MRTT's combination of an advanced flying boom and hose/drogue refueling systems - a capability shared by the KC-30 - ensures the Royal Australian Air Force will be able to support its own military aircraft, and contribute to joint operations with the ability to refuel all types of Coalition aircraft.

The Australian A330 MRTT equipment package includes a hospital bed kit for emergency medical evacuations, and the aircraft also is to be fitted with an electronic warfare self-protection suite for protection against surface-to-air missiles. It has a significant strategic airlift capability, with the capability of carrying up to 272 passengers and a combination of commercial and military cargo pallets.

Deliveries of A330 MRTTs to the Royal Australian Air Force are scheduled to begin in 2008, with the aircraft entering operational service in 2009 following operational test and evaluation.

EADS has previously produced and delivered A310 multi-role tanker/transport aircraft to the armed forces of Germany and Canada.

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