Friday, September 17, 2010
First Airbus Military Tanker for RAF Takes Off
16 September 2010 -- The first A330 MRTT Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force has taken off on its maiden flight from the Airbus Military facility at Getafe, Madrid following its conversion.
The aircraft, converted from a basic A330-200 by Airbus Military and powered by two Rolls- Royce Trent 700 turbofans, took to the air at 11.41 local time (09.41 UTC).
Chief Pilot FSTA Tim Butler captained the flight supported by Chief Test Pilot Eduardo Cuadrado. The engineering team on board included: Test Flight Engineer Santiago Manso, and Flight Test Engineers Jorge Fuentes and Alfonso Sopeña.
The crew will perform a routine acceptance flight profile and no refuelling activity will be undertaken. The duration of the flight will be at the test team's discretion.
The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is the most capable new generation aircraft in this category flying and available today. The large 111 tonnes/ 245,000 lb basic fuel capacity of the successful A330-200 airliner, from which it is derived, enables the A330 MRTT to excel in Air-to-Air Refuelling missions without the need for any additional fuel tanks. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refuelling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and/or a pair of under- wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refuelling Unit.
Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry up to 300 passengers, or a payload of up to 45 tonnes/99,000 lb. It can also easily be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers for Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC). 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), with one (Saudi Arabia) having already placed a repeat order.