EADS MTA Successfully Performs First in-flight Wet Contact of Air Refuelling Boom System

Released on Tuesday, March 4, 2008
ARBS - Air Refuelling Boom System
EADS - European Aeronautic Defence and Space
MRTT - Multi-Role Tanker Transport
MTA - Military Transport Aircraft
USAF - United States Air Force
The first in-flight wet contact of the EADS MTA Air Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) has successfully been performed using an F-16 aircraft.

This advanced boom system, installed on an Airbus A310 used as a flight test bed, performed the wet contact with the receiver aircraft following the planned procedure, at an altitude of 27000 feet. The contact represented how the ARBS will be used during a typical air-to air refuelling mission. This is the 73rd test flight for the boom system totaling more than 200 flight hours.

Along the Flight Test Program the systems have been validated, the boom aerodynamic and the Flight By Wire control system have demonstrated outstanding handling qualities through the whole envelope, the dry contacts had been cleared in flight. After complete ground test refueling operations today fuel transferences in-flight have been made using F-16s from the Portuguese Air Force. This has been the last milestone in the development of the EADS MTA Boom

The ARBS has been chosen by four of the five customers for the A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) and the first aircraft equipped with the ARBS will be delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force early next year. The air forces of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have chosen the A330 MRTT equipped with the ARBS and the same system has been proposed on the KC-30. This is the variant of the A330 MRTT offered by Northrop Grumman, US partner of EADS that has just won the competition to supply 179 tankers to the USAF.

"This is another step forward in our Air Refuelling Boom System programme. It shows our commitment toward the most demanding customers to provide them with the most advanced air-to-air refuelling technologies and systems in the market", said Carlos Suarez, Head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division.

The boom is 17 meters long at full extension and allows the transfer of 2270 litre/minute (1200 US gal/min) of fuel. The fly-by-wire boom is controlled remotely from a console in the cockpit, where an operator uses an advanced technology 3 dimensional visual system. This gives safer operation and a reduced workload for the boom operator, and enables the tanker crew to be located together.

Source: Military Transport Aircraft EADS MTA successfully performs the first in-flight wet contact of its Air Refuelling Boom System

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