First Flight of RAAF’s New Generation Tanker
(Source: Australian Minister for Defence; issued June 15, 2007)
I am pleased to announce the successful maiden flight of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) new generation A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft (MRTT).
The flight took place in Madrid, Spain and marks the end of the first phase of modifications to install military systems into the commercial A330 aircraft.
In December 2004, we signed a contract with Spanish company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (EADS CASA) to provide five new generation air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
The basic Airbus A330 aircraft will have a range of military modifications installed including two underwing aerial refuelling pods, a fuselage mounted refuelling boom, military communications, data link, navigation, identification, mission planning and electronic warfare self-protection equipment.
Our new A330 MRTT, to be known as the KC-30B in RAAF service, is one of the key enabling capabilities designed to maintain Australia’s air combat capability through the transition to Joint Strike Fighter, Wedgetail and beyond. We are taking on a managed risk as lead customer to develop and test the new advanced refuelling boom system and integrated military mission systems to ensure that we have the most capable tanker aircraft in time to replace the ageing Boeing 707.
The first aircraft will be converted into the tanker in two phases by EADS CASA and the remainder of the aircraft will be converted by Qantas in Australia. In addition QANTAS will provide the through-life support for the aircraft under an initial five year contract signed in February this year.
The first flight of the aircraft following completion of structural modifications is a significant milestone and provides confidence that EADS CASA is progressing to schedule for entry into operational service of the new tankers by the end of 2009. –ends-
EADS Rolls Out First Refueling-Equipped KC-30B Tanker for the Royal Australian Air Force
(Source: EADS North America; issued June 14, 2007)
ARLINGTON, Virginia --- The Royal Australian Air Force’s first KC-30B Multi-role Tanker/Transport has rolled out equipped with its in-flight refueling system, marking a major milestone in EADS’ development of the world’s most advanced aerial tanker platform.
Tuesday’s rollout clears the way for a series of flight validation tests, including refueling contacts with a variety of receiver aircraft, prior to the KC-30B’s delivery to the Royal Australian Air Force’s 33 Squadron.
“This Australian KC-30B – which is the first of five aircraft for this key ally – is further evidence of EADS’ ability to build and deliver the most capable tanker/transports available today,” said John H. Young, Jr., CEO of EADS North America Tankers, a business unit of EADS North America. “In addition, its high degree of commonality with the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker ensures a low-risk approach in the competition to recapitalize the U.S. Air Force’s aging KC-135 tanker fleet.”
The Royal Australian Air Force’s KC-30B is equipped with EADS’ fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), along with two underwing hose and drogue refueling pods. The advanced centerline boom and underwing pod combination enables the Royal Australian Air Force to support its own fighters, airlifters and AWACS assets, while also offering full aerial refueling compatibility with other U.S., NATO and allied military aircraft.
EADS’ all-electric ARBS provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling, with a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute. A high resolution, panoramic and 3D-vision surveillance system enables the boom operator to remotely control boom operations from the cockpit during air-to-air refueling during daylight or nighttime operations.
The KC-30 is derived from the highly popular A330 jetliner. To date, more than 700 A330s have been ordered for civil, military and government customers, and the aircraft’s production rate is increasing to meet a growing international demand.
In addition to its acquisition by the Royal Australian Air Force, the A330-based tanker has been ordered by the United Arab Emirates, and is selected by Britain for the Royal Air Force’s replacement of its VC10 and TriStar tanker/transport fleet. This marks the aircraft’s sweep of all recent international competitions for next-generation aerial refueling aircraft.
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 12 operating companies located in 30 cities and 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.