Arlington, VA - EADS' first A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) achieved another significant milestone in its military certification process, as this new-generation refueling platform is readied for delivery to the RAAF.
The A330 MRTT was validated as a receiver aircraft for in-flight refueling after multiple contacts with an EADS' A310 testbed platform -- which is equipped with the company's advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS).
The multiple contacts of the fly-by-wire boom were made with the A330 MRTT's Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) system, located on the aircraft's forward fuselage above the cockpit. These tests and evaluations confirmed its extremely stable flying qualities as a receiver aircraft, and also included tests of the military avionics system during refueling operations.
EADS' A330 MRTT has been selected by the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and was chosen last year by the U.S. Air Force for its recapitalization of the service's aging tanker fleet. These aircraft are based on the modern, commercial A330 jetliner -- which is in high-rate production for military and civilian customers worldwide -- and incorporate an in-flight refueling system that includes the EADS ARBS, plus underwing hose and drogue refueling pods.
"The A330 MRTT program is on schedule and meeting its milestones as a mission-capable platform for the most challenging refueling and airlift requirements of the U.S. Air Force, NATO countries and other allies," said Ralph D. Crosby, Jr., the chairman and CEO of EADS North America. "We look forward to this aircraft's upcoming service entry with the Royal Australian Air Force, as well as the follow-on introduction of A330 MRTTs in the fleets of EADS' other international military customers."
The A330 MRTT forms the basis of Northrop Grumman's offering in the U.S. Air Force tanker fleet modernization competition, providing a total air mobility solution with exceptional capacity for in-flight refueling, plus full flexibility in cargo delivery, passenger transport, aeromedical evacuation and other missions.
Designated the KC-45A following its 2008 selection by the U.S. Air Force, this multi-role tanker transport would be assembled and mission-equipped in Mobile, Ala. -- creating a new aerospace manufacturing center of excellence for the United States that will support over 48,000 high-value jobs nationwide.
At the heart of the Northrop Grumman KC-45's refueling system is EADS' new-generation ARBS, which provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling. The all-electric system's maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute is 33 percent more than the Air Force's current KC-135 tanker. Modern fly-by-wire technology incorporated in the ARBS provides enhanced controllability and includes an automatic gust load alleviation system that greatly aids the boom operator -- as well as the receiver aircraft's pilot -- during refueling operations.
SOURCE: EADS North America