Australia has commenced tanking trials between its Airbus Military A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft and Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets.
Australia has commenced
Air-to-Air Refuelling tanking trials between its Airbus Military
A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft and Boeing F/A-18F
Image courtesy of Commonwealth of
The trials were conducted by Canberra's Aircraft Research and
Development Unit from 4-19 February, says the Royal Australian Air
The testing saw 87 contacts and 76t of fuel transferred via the
Cobham hose and drogue Air-to-Air
Refuelling system, with both aircraft flying within a limited
The tests took place under a range of altitudes, conditions and
aircraft configurations, to assess issues such as the tanker's
wake, drogue stability and the fighter's performance.
The February tests set the stage for additional tests, which
should eventually clear the MRTT to support the air-to-air
refuelling of Super Hornets globally.
Canberra has five MRTTs, designated the KC-30A in RAAF service.
The type received its initial operational capability earlier this
year, and has demonstrated the ability to refuel F/A-18A Hornet
fighters through the Cobham hose and drogue Air-to-Air
Refuelling system during the daytime and night, as well as carry
One of Australia's MRTTs remains with Airbus Military in Getafe,
Spain, where remedial work is being undertaken to resolve issues
with the aircraft's aerial boom refuelling system. The service is
likely to begin working with the boom at the end of 2013.
The boom will be required for the air-to-air refuelling of types
such as the Boeing 737-based Wedgetail airborne early warning and
control system aircraft, and Australia's Boeing C-17 strategic
transports. In addition, the boom will be required for the air
force's future fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike