09 Oktober 2010

RAAF to Get New Airbus Tanker, Capable of Carrying Cargo, Troops or Refuelling

09 Oktober 2010

The RAAF's new Airbus A330 multi-role transport (photo : Airbus Military)

MILITARY certification has been given for the RAAF's new multi-role tanker, paving the way for the delivery of the Airbus aircraft under a $1.4 billion contract running a year late.

The RAAF has provisionally accepted one of a five-aircraft order with two more of the advanced tanker planes to be delivered by mid-November, a spokesman for Australian Aerospace told The Australian Online.

The wide-body aircraft have been specially modified for air-to-air refuelling and personnel transport.

To be known as the KC-30A, the latest addition to the RAAF's fleet will be able to carry 45 tonnes of cargo or 300 troops, in addition to refuelling fast jets using two underwing hose and drogue pods.

“This is an enormously gratifying moment for all. It confirms the A330 MRTT has satisfactorily demonstrated its global military airworthiness and the maturity of all its systems, and its full readiness to enter service with its customers,” Airbus Military said in a statement.

The aircraft, regarded as the most advanced of its type in the world, has also been ordered by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Britain.

Aircraft delivery was delayed due to a non-contract request by the RAAF for the installation of two interior consoles for the boom operators.

One other hurdle has to be overcome - installation of the plane's self-defence measures, work the US government says must be done in America due to sensitivity about the cutting-edge technology.

Defence hopes that like Britain, the federal government will be able to convince Washington to have the installation work completed in Australia.

(The Australian)

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