Airbus Military A330 MRTT (photo : Aus DoD)
The fourth Airbus Military A330 MRTT multi-role tanker transport for the Royal Australian Air Force has been formally handed over to the service, leaving just one aircraft of its order still to be delivered.
Known as the KC-30A in RAAF operation, this particular aircraft is the only one for the RAAF to have been converted from the basic A330 in Madrid, the others having been converted by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane, Australia. It took part in the A330 MRTT development programme and has been extensively renovated prior to delivery in Madrid.
Following the handover the aircraft will remain in Spain for continued test work and will be transferred to RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland later in the year. The fifth and final aircraft will be delivered in the third quarter of the year.
The A330 MRTT recently underwent successful refuelling trials in Australia with a RAAF F/A-18 fighter and earlier this month was displayed by the RAAF at the LIMA Airshow in Malaysia.
It is the world’s most advanced air-to-air tanker and the only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport aircraft in existence. It will substantially increase the aerial refuelling and logistical capabilities of the RAAF.
In RAAF service, the aircraft are equipped with two underwing 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 are equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.