Australian Tanker Aircraft Achieves Key Milestone


Released on Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Australia
United Kingdom
United States of America
A310 MRTT
A330 MRTT
KC-135 Stratotanker
AMTT - Advanced Multi-role Tanker Transport
MRTT - Multi-Role Tanker Transport
RAAF - Royal Australian Air Force
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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