SOURCE: EADS North America

July 15, 2008 03:00 ET

EADS' A330-Based Tanker for the Royal Australian Air Force to Enter Final Testing

Preparations Continue for the Delivery of the First KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker/Transport to Australia Next Year

ARLINGTON, VA--(Marketwire - July 15, 2008) - The Royal Australian Air Force's first KC-30B Multi-role Tanker/Transport is being readied for its final phase of ground and flight testing, which will clear the way for a 2009 delivery of the world's most advanced aerial tanker platform to a key U.S. ally.

The KC-30B successfully completed Phase I flight testing in just three months earlier this year. During Phase I, the MRTT flight envelope was explored and expanded, aerodynamic and performance data gathered, and aircraft handling qualities validated with the full-up aerial refueling boom and wing pod systems installed. The KC-30B achieved all Phase I objectives, including demonstration that the modified aircraft is free from buffet and flutter throughout the flight envelope. The Phase 1 testing obtained all test data required to support civil certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

"The success of the KC-30B's outfitting, flight testing and performance validation effort reflects the outstanding partnership between EADS, led by the Military Transport Aircraft Division of EADS, and the Royal Australian Air Force as we continue toward delivery of the first two aircraft next year," said John H. Young, Jr., CEO of EADS North America Tankers -- a business unit of EADS North America. "The significant advances of this program, in both development and manufacturing, will directly benefit the Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker and their customer, the U.S. Air Force."

During the upcoming Phase II evaluations, the KC-30B will continue the ground and flight test program -- leading to final military certification and qualification. Preparations for Phase II testing included the installation of an updated state-of-the-art Boom Enhanced Visual System (BEVS), the addition of the KC-30B's Remote Aerial Refueling Operator (RARO) console and installation of military avionics systems.

In parallel, the transition of military tanker conversion to Australia for the subsequent KC-30Bs continues on schedule. Earlier this month, the Royal Australian Air Force's second A330 departed the Airbus final assembly line in Toulouse, France and arrived at the Qantas Australian Conversion Center at Brisbane Airport. This aircraft will be the first of four KC-30Bs to undergo military conversion to full tanker configuration in Australia.

The RAAF KC-30B is equipped with the EADS fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), along with two underwing hose and drogue refueling pods. The advanced centerline boom and underwing pod combination enables the Royal Australian Air Force to support its own fighters, airlifters and AWACS assets, while also offering full aerial refueling compatibility with 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.

Five KC-30Bs have been ordered by Australia. These aircraft have a high degree of commonality with the Northrop Grumman KC-45 tanker -- selected by the U.S. Air Force to replace the aging KC-135 tanker fleet. This commonality ensures a low-risk approach for the U.S. Air Force tanker program.

The multi-role tanker/transport family is derived from the highly popular 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.

In addition to its acquisition by the Royal Australian Air Force, the A330-based tanker also has been selected by the air forces of the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, having been consecutively selected in the last 5 international competitions for next-generation aerial refueling aircraft.

About EADS North America (

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:
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    EADS North America
    Tel: 703-236-3300