ARLINGTON, Va. --- EADS' fly-by-wire boom has logged 35 test flights and more than 100 flight hours in evaluations that confirm the capabilities of the world's more advanced military aerial refueling system.
The flight testing utilizes an A310 test-bed aircraft equipped with the EADS Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS), and evaluations to date have focused on a full range of deployment conditions.
One mission performed this week included the participation of a military fighter, which represented a receiver aircraft for refueling. The fighter flew in the pre-contact position behind the boom to test tanker-to-receiver communications as well as interrelated aerodynamic effects.
Developed in a $100 million EADS self-funded research and development effort, the ARBS provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling - taking full advantage of modern fly-by-wire technology. The ARBS will equip five EADS KC-30B tanker aircraft ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, along with three tankers for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The boom system also will be incorporated on the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker, which is offered in the ongoing competition to modernize the U.S. Air Force's aerial refueling fleet.
The ARBS delivers a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute. It features an automatic load alleviation system that provides a large refueling envelope and enhanced controllability. The system's all-electric design significantly reduces traditional failure rates and subsequent down times. Using a 3D-vision surveillance system, the boom operator remotely controls ARBS operations from the cockpit during air-to-air refueling.
EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 190,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. With 10 operating companies located in 38 cities and 19 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.