The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has passed another key milestone with the refuelling of a Boeing E-3F AWACS airborne early warning aircraft – the first time the A330 MRTT has refuelled another large aircraft.
Demonstrating the stability of this class of aircraft during air-to-air refuelling is an essential exercise to be completed not only to satisfy the certification authorities, but subsequently the operators. The E-3F is considered to be a particularly significant type because of its aerodynamic characteristics due to the large radome mounted on the back of the aircraft. The A330 MRTT passed this trial with flying colours.
The aircraft, operating from Getafe, Madrid performed a series of dry and wet contacts during two sorties with a French Air Force E-3F.
In the first flight, four contacts were performed during a 3hr 55min mission and 12.1 tonnes of fuel was transferred.
In the second flight a total of 17.5 tonnes of fuel was transferred. The flying was conducted at around 20,000ft and 250kt, and the centreline-mounted refuelling boom was used for all the transfers.
The A330 MRTT has now conducted a total of more than 200 wet and dry contacts during the development programme and transferred nearly 100 tonnes of fuel.
Antonio Caramazana, Vice President and Head of Airbus Military Derivatives, said: “This is a significant milestone in the programme. The E-3 AWACS is a challenge because of its aerodynamics characteristics due to the large radome. The AWACS crew reported that the handling of the aircraft was very smooth during the refueling operation. We are delighted with the performance of our A330 MRTT and with our advanced refuelling boom.”