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EADS Advanced Air Refueling Boom System Passes 100 Flight Hours

Pre-Contact Tests Conducted This Week

Representatives with EADS tell ANN the company's fly-by-wire boom has logged 35 test flights, and over 100 flight hours in evaluations that confirm the capabilities of the advanced military aerial refueling system.

The flight testing utilizes an A310 testbed aircraft equipped with the EADS Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS), and evaluations to date have focused on a full range of deployment conditions. 

One mission performed this week included the participation of a military fighter, which represented a receiver aircraft for refueling. The fighter flew in the pre-contact position behind the boom to test tanker-to-receiver communications, along with interrelated aerodynamic effects.

Developed in a $100 million EADS self-funded research and development effort, the ARBS provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling – taking full advantage of modern fly-by-wire technology. The ARBS will equip five EADS KC-30B tanker aircraft ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, along with three tankers for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The boom system also will be incorporated on the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker, which is offered in the ongoing competition to modernize the US Air Force’s aerial refueling fleet.

EADS states the ARBS delivers a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 US gallons per minute. It features an automatic load alleviation system that provides a large refueling envelope and enhanced controllability. The system’s all-electric design significantly reduces traditional failure rates and subsequent down times.

Using a 3D-vision surveillance system, the boom operator remotely controls ARBS operations from the cockpit during air-to-air refueling.

FMI: www.eads.com

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