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Mon, Mar 22, 2010

Airbus Military Receives EASA STC For The A330 MRTT

Allows Transition From Passenger Jet To Military Multi-Role Tanker

Airbus Military has obtained a civil STC from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft. The STC covers military equipment and modifications to the basic passenger A330-200 jetliner, which was certified in 1998 for its entry into commercial service. This is the first civil certification ever issued by EASA for a European-developed tanker/transport aircraft.

Modifications incorporated in the A330 MRTT include all equipment to provide the aerial refueling capability for a full range of receiver aircraft - from fighters to large transports. This includes the totally new fly-by-wire Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) developed by Airbus Military, the under-wing hose and drogue refueling pods, the refueling operators' console in the cockpit area, as well as other mission-specific military avionics and systems. The flight control laws of the aircraft also were modified and adapted to the needs of performing refueling operations.

The certification follows a period of flight evaluations during which more than 170 test flights were performed. Of these, over 60 were for tests required for the STC, while the others were for the design validation and certification of military aspects. During the trials, some 320 wet and dry contacts were performed, involving fighter aircraft such as the F-16 and F-18, as well as the E3 AWACS.  With these contacts, more than 300,000 pounds of fuel were transferred to the receiver aircraft. In addition, some 190 contacts were made with the A330 MRTT acting as a receiver aircraft. All systems operated as expected, and the aircraft's aerodynamic performance also was as predicted.

Military certification of the A330 MRTT is expected this summer, which will be followed by the startup of deliveries to international customers.  The first two A330 MRTT aircraft will be received by the Royal Australian Air Force in 2010. To date, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers: Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.



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