SOURCE: EADS North America

EADS North America

August 26, 2009 14:42 ET

Australia's Second A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport Achieves Successful "power on" Milestone

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - August 26, 2009) - The second A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft for Australia has completed its mission equipment outfitting with a successful "power on" milestone, and is being readied for pre-delivery flight testing.

The aircraft underwent conversion to the A330 MRTT military configuration in Australia. Qantas Engineering performed the mission equipment outfitting at its Brisbane Airport facility with the support of Airbus Military, underscoring the capability of EADS and its subsidiaries to transfer complex industrial processes around the globe.

One of the key achievements of the "power on" milestone is verifying successful operation of more than 400 installed wiring harnesses -- with more than 35 miles of cabling and 1600 connectors -- that go into the MRTT as part of its military modifications. It is a key step prior to the commencement of ground and flight test of the aerial refueling systems and military avionics. Following flight test in Australia, the aircraft will fly to Madrid, Spain, for further modifications prior to joining the first MRTT in the certification and qualification flight program.

The Royal Australian Air Force's A330 MRTT is based on the same general configuration as the Northrop Grumman KC-45 being offered for recapitalization of the U.S. Air Force's aging tanker fleet. Both A330-200 aircraft feature EADS' advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), along with a pair of 905E under-wing hose-and-drogue air refueling pods. The KC-45 will also have a hose-and-drogue fuselage refueling unit on the centerline. This mix of boom and pod refueling technologies ensures the A330 MRTT and KC-45 can transfer fuel to all types of receiver aircraft during a single mission without reconfiguration.

Australia has ordered five A330 MRTTs, the first of which began a highly successful flight-test program in June 2007. Two of the multi-role platforms will be delivered to Australia in 2010. As with the second aircraft, the remaining three Australian MRTTs will undergo mission equipment outfitting at the Qantas Engineering facility. Conversion of the next of these aircraft is already underway.

The successful transfer of these complex industrial capabilities validates a foundational element of the Northrop Grumman KC-45 program for the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft will be assembled and configured for the U.S. Air Force by EADS North America and Northrop Grumman at a new American aerospace center of excellence that will be constructed in Mobile, Alabama.

At the heart of both the A330 MRTT and KC-45 is the EADS fly-by-wire ARBS, which provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling for a full range of aircraft -- from fighters to airlifters. Its high-resolution, panoramic, 3D-vision system enables the boom operator to remotely control the system from the cockpit during day, night and all-weather operations. The ARBS' maximum nominal fuel flow rate is 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute.

The A330 MRTT has won all of the latest competitions for advanced aerial refueling aircraft. In addition to the Royal Australian Air Force's acquisition, it has been selected by the air forces of the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Saudi Arabia's original order for three A330 MRTTs was recently doubled to a total of six aircraft, further solidifying the aircraft's position as the world's leading advanced aerial refueling platform.

About EADS North America

EADS North America is the North American operation of EADS, a global leader in aerospace, defense and related services. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $11 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 200,000 American jobs through its network of suppliers and services. Operating in 17 states, EADS North America offers a broad array of advanced solutions to its customers in the commercial, homeland security, aerospace and defense markets.