A330 MRTT qualification of UAE receivers complete
Airbus Military has announced that it has successfully completed receiver qualification of the two primary aircraft-types that the UAE Air Force will refuel from the three A330 MRTT multi role tanker transports that it currently has on order. The announcement was made in a 26 March 2012 company statement.
The compatibility of the new generation A330 MRTT with UAE Air Force Mirage 2000 and F-16 Block 60 fighters was fully demonstrated in a series of extensive flight tests in Abu Dhabi. Operating from Al Dhafra airbase, the aircraft performed air-to-air refuelling at speeds throughout the refuelling flight envelope, at a range of altitudes, and in turns, climbs and descents as well as level flight.
Other versions of the F-16 have already been qualified with the A330 MRTT, but the trials added the Block 60 variant used by the UAE which features large conformal fuel tanks on the fuselage. The F-16 was refuelled using the A330 MRTT’s Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS).
The Mirage 2000 was successfully tested in different configurations including the twin-seat version carrying two drop-tanks and two air-to-air missiles, and the single-seat version carrying six missiles and a centreline drop-tank. To refuel the Mirage 2000, the A330 MRTT used its two underwing refuelling pods, including demonstrations of refuelling two fighters simultaneously.
Crew training with UAE pilots is currently underway in Spain and the first two A330 MRTTs for the UAE, including the one that took part in the trials, are due to be delivered before the end of the year.
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