Final A330 MRTT delivered to RAAF
The fifth and final A330 MRTT multi-role tanker transport ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been delivered by Airbus Military. Designated the KC-30A by the RAAF, it was converted from an Airbus A330 commercial passenger jet by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane, and will serve with No. 33 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley.
The delivery marks a major milestone for the A330 MRTT programme and for the RAAF’s air-to-air tanker capabilities. The RAAF was the launch customer for the aircraft, which has now been ordered by four customers, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK, with Saudi Arabia having already placed a repeat order.
In RAAF service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two under-wing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the aircraft equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.
Airbus Military vice president derivative programmes, Antonio Caramazana, said: ‘It is an enormous pleasure to make this landmark delivery which confirms the reality of the A330 MRTT as the world´s only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport. We greatly appreciate the cooperative role of the RAAF in bringing this aircraft from development into service and we look forward to the declaration of Initial Operating Capability (IOC) of the KC-30A in the very near future.’
Air Commodore Gary Martin, RAAF Commander Air Lift Group, added: ‘We are very pleased with the in-service testing of the KC-30A and we expect to declare IOC before the end of the year. RAAF F/A-18A and B aircraft now conduct routine refuelling missions with the KC-30A, and the pilots are happy with the KC-30A tanking experience. The KC-30A makes a tremendous contribution to Australia’s need to move large numbers of personnel and cargo over long distances, both domestically and throughout the Asia Pacific region.’
The A330 MRTT is able to perform simultaneously three different types of missions: aerial refuelling (tanker role), passenger and/or freight transport, and/or medical evacuation (MEDEVAC). Also, its tank capacity is sufficient to supply the required fuel quantities without the need for any additional reservoirs, nor major structural modifications.
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