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Fri, Apr 28, 2006

EADS Achieves Key Milestones In Advanced Military Tanker Aircraft Development

Successes Support Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Program

Representatives with European aerospace group EADS told Aero-News Thursday that the first A330 aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force's Multi-role Tanker Transport (MRTT) program has rolled off the production line and completed initial evaluations, and the advanced fly-by-wire refueling boom that will equip it has recently concluded a preliminary series of in-flight tests.

These two milestones are important steps in meeting both US and international aerial tanker program requirements. EADS is competing with Boeing's 767 tanker for the US contract.

EADS North America is a teammate and principal subcontractor on the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Advanced Multi-role Tanker Transport (AMTT) team that is seeking to support the US Air Force's KC-135 tanker fleet recapitalization. EADS also has been selected by the Royal Australian Air Force and the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force to provide military refueling aircraft systems.

"Both program achievements reflect EADS' technical progress in supporting the Northrop Grumman-led industrial team, which is offering the most capable tanker to meet the US Air Force's aerial refueling requirements of today and tomorrow," said EADS North America Chairman & CEO Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. "As with the A330 MRTT selected by two of America's closest allies, the KC-30 Advanced Multi-role Tanker Transport offers the best-value solution to the US Air Force - combining superior performance in its aerial refueling role with exceptional operational flexibility for cargo, passengers and aeromedical evacuation missions."

The first A330 for the Royal Australian Air Force performed validation tests this month. These tests included flying in a receiver position behind a French Air Force C-135FR tanker.

With these successful evaluations completed, the A330 will be painted in Royal Australian Air Force livery in May, and then delivered to EADS' Military Transport Aircraft Division for modification into the MRTT configuration. The RAAF has ordered five A330 MRTTs, with the first scheduled for delivery in 2008.

Separately, the EADS Boom System has successfully completed its first phase of full-scale flight tests. These evaluations validated the boom system in its stowed position on an A310 test bed aircraft, clearing the way for follow-on flights that will include refueling capability demonstrations.

An integrated 2-D and 3-D stereoscopic enhanced vision system is incorporated in the boom system for day/night missions. The boom system's advanced features will allow it to refuel all suitably-equipped receiver aircraft, and the boom is easily adaptable to future mission requirements - including the refueling of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). An intelligent control system enables automatic configuration for each type of receiver aircraft.

FMI: www.eadsnorthamerica.com

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