SOURCE: EADS North America

July 16, 2008 03:00 ET

Conversion Begins for the Royal Australian Air Force's No. 2 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)

Aircraft Is the First of Four A330s to Be Outfitted in Australia by Qantas Defense Services

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - July 16, 2008) - The second Royal Australian Air Force's Multi-Role Tanker/Transport -- designated the KC-30B -- has begun its tanker conversion phase in preparation for the aircraft's entry into service.

Outfitting of the #2 RAAF KC-30B started in early June after arriving at the Qantas Australian Conversion Centre at Brisbane Airport, Australia. It is the first of four Airbus A330s to be modified to the KC-30B configuration by Qantas Engineering in Australia. In order to ensure a low risk and on-time conversion, EADS has established a resident office at the Qantas facilities where a specialized staff will oversee the conversion.

The KC-30B's outfitting procedure in Australia -- which includes the installation of EADS' advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), underwing refueling pods and military mission systems -- is similar to the process planned for the U.S. Air Force's KC-45 Tankers, which will be assembled in Mobile, Alabama and delivered to Northrop Grumman for installation of the refueling and mission systems.

"The start of in-country tanker conversion on the second Royal Australian MRTT marks yet another significant milestone in the KC-30B MRTT program," said John H. Young, Jr., CEO of EADS North America Tankers -- a business unit of EADS North America. "The advances of this program will directly benefit the U.S. Air Force's KC-45 Tanker program, particularly with lessons learned as we qualify Qantas in the conversion of airframes to fully capable tankers. The high degree of commonality that the RAAF KC-30B MRTT shares with the USAF KC-45 Tanker strengthens the U.S. team's low-risk approach."

The Royal Australian Air Force's KC-30B's use of EADS' advanced fly-by-wire ARBS and two underwing hose and drogue refueling pods will enable the Royal Australian Air Force to support its own fighters, airlifters and AWACS assets, while also offering full aerial refueling compatibility with other U.S., NATO and allied military aircraft.

EADS' all-electric ARBS provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling, with a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute. A high resolution, panoramic and 3D-vision surveillance system enables the boom operator to remotely control boom operations from the cockpit during air-to-air refueling during daylight or nighttime operations.

The KC-30B and the KC-45 are derived from the highly popular Airbus A330 jetliner. To date, more than 940 A330s have been ordered for civil, military and government customers, and the aircraft's production rate is increasing to meet a growing international demand.

A total of five KC-30Bs have been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force. The first RAAF aircraft already is outfitted with the full complement of aerial refueling systems, and has successfully completed Phase I flight testing to validate its handling qualities and performance.

About EADS North America (www.eadsnorthamerica.com)

EADS North America is the North American operations of EADS, the second largest aerospace and defense company in the world. As a leader in all sectors of defense and homeland security, EADS North America and its parent company, EADS, contribute over $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually and support more than 190,000 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.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Guy Hicks
    Vice President Communications and Public Relations
    EADS North America
    Tel: 703-236-3300
    E-mail: guy.hicks@eads-na.com