ARLINGTON, VA --- An EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) destined for the Royal Australian Air Force touched down at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, today, for a stopover on its journey from Australia to Spain. The aircraft stopped at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, yesterday.
The aircraft is the second of five A330 MRTTs ordered by Australia, and is nearly identical in configuration to Northrop Grumman's KC-45 Tanker offered for the U.S. Air Force to modernize its aging aerial refueling fleet. This MRTT departs from the U.S. tomorrow to join the first Australian MRTT in military certification testing at EADS' Airbus Military facility in Madrid.
The A330 MRTT was outfitted as a tanker in Brisbane, Australia, by Qantas Aviation Services with the support of EADS. The success of this process demonstrates EADS' ability to transition complex tanker conversion activity to the domestic industry of nations that will operate these aircraft. This process is a key element of the Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker offering. EADS North America will assemble the A330 platforms at a new aerospace center of excellence in Mobile, Alabama, and Northrop Grumman will conduct the military conversion at their Mobile Production Center.
"The arrival on our shores of a fully-equipped tanker for an allied nation is yet another demonstration that the Northrop Grumman team is ready now with a low-risk solution for the Air Force's desperately needed tanker replacement," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., EADS North America's Chairman and CEO.
Like the KC-45, Australia's A330 MRTT incorporates EADS' state-of-the-art Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) with all-electric, fly-by-wire controls, plus two digital hose-and-drogue pods under the wings. The advanced boom is the only operating boom in the world that can deliver fuel at 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute, a requirement for the U.S. Air Force's tanker.
Last week the first A330 MRTT built for Australia passed more than 3,300 pounds of fuel through its boom to F-16 receiver aircraft during a certification flight. The ARBS has completed more than 250 wet and dry contacts with a wide range of receiver aircraft, in a full range of operating conditions and throughout the flight envelope, during flights from a test-bed aircraft.
Deliveries to the Royal Australian Air Force will begin in mid-2010. Conversion is complete for the first two aircraft and ongoing for the third at Qantas Aviation Services in Australia. The A330 MRTT has won all of the latest competitions for next-generation aerial refueling aircraft -- with selections by the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
A total of five MRTT aircraft are currently in the conversion and flight test process -- three for Australia and two for the United Kingdom, underscoring EADS' ability to build, outfit and deliver the A330 MRTT at a sustained rate. In addition, the first A330 MRTT for the Saudi Royal Air Force will arrive in Madrid for conversion in November.
Airbus Military, a division of Airbus, designs, manufactures and sells special mission aircraft for specialized military and security tasks such as in-flight refueling capabilities or maritime surveillance. Products include heavy, medium and light transports, as well as the Airbus based tankers, which leverage all the efficiencies of Airbus commercial aircraft.
EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. 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.
EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport Arrives in US