Aircraft Traveling From Australia To Spain
An EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker
Transport (MRTT) destined for the Royal Australian Air Force
touched down at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware on October 29 for a
stopover on its journey from Australia to Spain. The aircraft
stopped at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Tuesday.
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 will 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.
Australia's A330 MRTT incorporates EADS' 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
currently 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