Airbus Military has delivered the first of three new generation A330 MRTT multi-role tanker transport aircraft ordered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The handover of the world´s most advanced air-to-air tanker means that the type has now been delivered to all four current customers – Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the United Kingdom.
Converted from an Airbus A330 commercial passenger jet by Airbus Military at Getafe near Madrid, the aircraft will serve with the UAE Air Force and Air Defence. The remaining two aircraft are at an advanced stage of conversion and will be delivered by mid-2013.
Airbus Military Vice President Derivative Programmes, Antonio Caramazana said: “It is a great pleasure to see the A330 MRTT now flying in the UAE Air Force and Air Defence colours. We are confident that it will greatly enhance the capability of the UAE Air Force and contribute to the stability of the Gulf region.”
In UAE service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. It is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and has 256 passenger seats.
The aircraft is capable of conducting refuelling operations with UAE Air Force and Air Defence fighters such as the Mirage 2000 and F-16.
The Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker/transport aircraft flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.
Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC).
To date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers (Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.