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Airbus A330 MRTT refuelling two F-18s

Airbus A330 MRTT demos simultaneous refuelling of 2 fighters

The Airbus Military A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport) continues to pass new programme milestones and has now demonstrated simultaneous refuelling of two fighters. Barely a week after completing the first in-flight wet contact with a fighter using one of its new generation Cobham 905E hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, the aircraft passed fuel to two Spanish Air Force F/A-18A+ fighters at the same time last week.

The A330 MRTT used for the exercise is the first for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), which is due to be handed over to the customer by mid-2010 and is configured with two hoseand-drogue pods and a centreline-mounted refuelling boom. Both systems have completed wet contacts in flight.

In the trial the aircraft took off from Airbus Military's Getafe facility near Madrid and rendezvoused with two F/A-18A+ aircraft which had flown from the Spanish Air Force base at Torejon.

During a two-hour sortie the two fighters received 11,400kg of fuel in a sequence of 13 contacts of which 11 were simultaneous. The operation was conducted at an altitude of around 15,000ft and a speed of 250kt and used only the hose-and-drogue pods.

In the course of the programme so far 47 dry and wet contacts have been completed during which 23,000kg of fuel have been transferred.

Antonio Caramazana, Vice President and Head of Airbus Military Derivatives, said: "This is a remarkable technical milestone that shows the maturity and capability of the air-to-air refuelling system."

Flight test of the second A330 MRTT for Australia was finished in Brisbane where the aircraft has been modified by Qantas and flown back to Spain to perform final test flights jointly with the first one. The third aircraft is already in Brisbane under conversion. In total, five have been ordered by the RAAF, with another 23 by three other nations, bringing the total to 28 A330 MRTTs ordered.

The pod hose-and-drogue system is also implemented in the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) programme which uses only that system and does not use the boom system.

This new refuelling pod is a development of the 907E pod already in service with the Canadian and German air forces on their A310 MRTTs. The pods can each deliver up to 420 US gal/min (1600 litres/min) through a 90 ft (27.4 m) hose, and are controlled from a state-of-the-art Fuel Operator Console located in the cockpit.

The A330 MRTT has been selected by the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and was chosen last year by the U.S. Air Force for its recapitalization of the service's aging tanker fleet.

Press release issued by Airbus Defence & Space HQ on November 24, 2009

 

 Contact details from our directory:
Cobham Mission Systems Division Testing Services, Stores Management Systems, Refueling Equipment, Air Refuelling Systems, Fuel Tanks & Systems
Airbus Defence & Space HQ Airframer

 

 Related aircraft programs:
Airbus A330

 

 Related directory sectors:
Airframe Assemblies

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