Airbus Military has for the first time demonstrated in flight “buddy” refuelling between two A330 MRTT aircraft. To-date three such flights have been performed, the latest one being part of the certification flight trials.
This type of operation further illustrates the capability of the new-generation A330 MRTT tanker to refuel any kind of large receiver, even wide-body aircraft like another A330 MRTT or receiver aircraft with complex aerodynamics such as the E-3 AWACS tested in February. It also demonstrates the capability of the aircraft as a receiver and means that the A330 MRTT is now both the largest aircraft to have refuelled an A330 MRTT and the largest to have received fuel from it.
A330 MRTT refuels another A330 MRTT
The two aircraft used for these flight trials were the first two A330 MRTTs built for the Royal Australian Air Force. They are both now being used in the final stages of the certification programme due for completion in the next months.
During the flights, performed over the Gulf of Cadiz in southern Spain, fuel was passed from the refuelling aircraft’s Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) to the receiving aircraft’s Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI).
Programme director Airbus Military Derivatives, Antonio Caramazana, said: “This latest flight demonstrates the ability of the A330 MRTT to refuel a true widebody aircraft and to conduct buddy-buddy refuelling between two tankers, which is a vital enabler for even longer range deployments.”
The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is the most capable new generation aircraft in this category flying and available today. The large 111 tonne / 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 tanks.
The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.
Airbus Military A330 MRTT Refuels Second A330 MRTT