The Commonwealth government has tasked Airbus with delivering a communications and mission system modernisation upgrade for the Royal Australian Air Force.
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Airbus has announced that the federal government has selected the company to develop a communications and mission system modernisation upgrade for the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) fleet of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Specifically, Airbus has been tasked with achieving the RAAF’s interoperability objectives by incorporating new and additional communications capabilities and enhanced mission systems to meet the latest enhanced A330 MRTT standard.
The project is split across two contracts, with Phase 1 involving design and systems development and integration ahead of the Critical Design Review maturity gate, and Phase 2 involving the installation of a prototype KC-30 aircraft (the RAAF's name for the A330 MRTT) for use in the certification and qualification process, ahead of finalising and supplying the modification kits for the entire fleet.
Airbus noted that subsequent retrofitting for the remainder of the fleet would be under customer responsibility.
Airbus has also committed to providing the necessary data packs and support to ensure the upgrade features in the existing RAAF A330 MRTT Full Flight Simulator (FFS), the Integrated Procedures Trainer (IPT) and the Remote Air Refuelling Operator (RARO) Console Part Task trainer (PTT).
KC-30A MRTT features
The KC-30A MRTT is fitted with two types of air-to-air refuelling systems — an Advanced Refuelling Boom System mounted on the tail of the aircraft, and a pair of all-electric refuelling hose-and-drogue pods under each wing.
The air-to-air refuelling systems are controlled by an air refuelling operator in the cockpit, who can view refuelling on 2D and 3D screens.
The KC-30A can carry a fuel load of 111 tonnes and transfer part of that load to compatible aircraft, including other KC-30As.
The A330 MRTT combines the advanced technology of a new generation tanker with the operational experience recorded during more than 200,000 FH in service.
In total, the A330 MRTT counts 61 orders and 45 aircraft already delivered and in operation.
[Related: NATO orders additional Airbus A330 MRTT]