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 U.S. and international aerial
tanker program requirements.
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 U.S. 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.
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.
Developed in a nearly $100 million company-funded effort, this revolutionary
boom system uses fly-by-wire controls to provide highly accurate and reliable
in-flight refueling. It has been ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force's
A330 MRTTs, and also will equip the KC-30 AMTT proposed for the U.S. Air Force
by the Northrop Grumman industry team.
The boom system incorporates an automatic load alleviation system and an
independent disconnect function, along with redundant actuation systems and
power supplies. It provides a larger refueling envelope with better
controllability than other refueling booms.
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