ARLINGTON, VA --- The A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) -- on which the Northrop Grumman KC-45 is based -- has marked a new development milestone by flying as a receiver aircraft with a C-135 tanker operated by the French Air Force. During two airborne sorties, the C-135 made 20 contacts with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 MRTT, the first of five aircraft to be delivered to the RAAF.
The Royal Australian Air Force is one of five military services that have selected A330-based refueling aircraft to meet their nation's tanker/transport requirements, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In 2008, the United States Air Force selected the Northrop Grumman KC-45 to replace its aging KC-135 refueling fleet.
Phase two MRTT flight testing began in December 2008 and has validated the aircraft's flight control laws and compatibility with a broad range of military aircraft while operating as both a tanker and receiver; tested and expanded the operational envelope of the centerline refueling boom and two underwing refueling pods; and tested onboard avionics -- including NATO-standard Link 16 data communications and the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS).
A key technology on the A330 MRTT and Northrop Grumman KC-45 is the EADS advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS). The 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 aircraft's boom operator to remotely control the boom from the cockpit during day or night air-to-air refueling missions.
EADS North America is the North American operation 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 $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.
A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport Demonstrates Refueling Compatibility With KC-135