EADS Air Refueling Boom System Demonstrated on French E-3 AWACS Aircraft

Released on Wednesday, July 23, 2008
E-3 Sentry
ARBS - Air Refuelling Boom System
AWACS - Airborne Warning And Control System
EADS - European Aeronautic Defence and Space
EADS MTAD - EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division
NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organization
RARO - Remote Aerial Refueling Operator
US - United States
EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division advanced aerial refueling boom has confirmed its ability to support large U.S., NATO and allied air forces by performing multiple aerial refueling contacts with an operational French AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft. Performed on Friday , July 18, over Spanish air space and under control of Spanish air traffic controllers, the demonstration mission used a fully-operational ARBS, which is installed on an A310 test-bed aircraft. The boom operator onboard used a three-dimensional vision surveillance system for a high-fidelity view of the boom's position during the air-to-air refueling process. During these evaluations, the French Air Force AWACS closed from the pre-contact to contact position for multiple hook-ups. This follows previous in-flight evaluations that confirmed the ARBS' excellent handling qualities with large receiver platforms, along with smaller and faster combat aircraft like F-16.

The boom used is the same boom developed by EADS MTAD that will equip the Australian, Saudi, and Emirates tankers and will be supplied by this Division of EADS to Northrop Grumman for the KC-45 programme.

Besides an advanced boom main structure, the ARBS has fly-by-wire controls, including an automatic load alleviation system, that gives a larger refuelling envelope and improved controllability. The maximum nominal fuel flow is 1200 US gal./min. A boom operator, RARO (Remote Aerial Refuelling Operator), sat at a station located in the cockpit, controls an artificial 3D-vision surveillance system during the entire air-to-air refuelling process.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of € 39.1 billion and employed a workforce of about 116,000. The Group includes the aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the world's largest helicopter supplier Eurocopter and EADS Astrium, the European leader in space programmes from Ariane to Galileo. Its Defence & Security Division is a provider of comprehensive systems solutions and makes EADS the major partner in the Eurofighter consortium as well as a stakeholder in the missile systems provider MBDA. EADS also develops the A400M through its Military Transport Aircraft Division.

Source: EADS MTAD Air Refueling Boom System capabilities now demonstrated on AWACS aircraft

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