08 November 2011
The third RAAF's A330 MRTT (photo : Airbus Military)
The third aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) expanding fleet of new-generation Airbus Military A330 MRTT multi-role tanker/transports has been formally handed over to the RAAF providing a significant boost to Defence’s in-flight refuelling, air logistics support and air combat capability.
The delivery of the aircraft to RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, today marks another major milestone for the A330 MRTT programme and the world’s most advanced air-to-air tanker aircraft, designated the KC-30A in Australian military service. The first two KC-30As were delivered in June.
Today’s delivery is the third of five MRTTs ordered by the RAAF. As with the first two aircraft delivered in June, this MRTT was also converted from an Airbus A330 commercial passenger jet to a military tanker/transport by Qantas Defence Services at the Australian MRTT Conversion Centre at Brisbane Airport.
With three MRTTs now in RAAF fleet service, a fourth - actually the first to be converted but at Airbus Military’s headquarters in Spain - will be handed over in Madrid in December. The fifth and final aircraft, which arrived in Brisbane for conversion some weeks ago, will be delivered next year.
All five A330 MRTTs were acquired under AIR 5402 to provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with what is the world’s only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport aircraft. The type has also been ordered by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, with Saudi Arabia having already placed a repeat order.
In RAAF service, the aircraft are equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft are equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.