The Airbus Military A330 MRTT has successfully passed fuel to receiver aircraft using the Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for the first time – meaning that all of the aircraft’s refuelling systems have now been demonstrated, says Airbus in a press statement.
Contacts were performed with both fighters at an altitude of around 15 000ft and at speeds from 250kt to 325kt. The FRU is a hose and drogue similar to those fitted under the wings, but with a higher rate of fuel transfer, and which is also developed and supplied by Cobham of the UK, the media statement explains.
The full complement of refuelling systems which can equip the A330 MRTT, and which have now all been demonstrated, consists of: the FRU, the underwing hose-and-drogue, and the Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), plus the Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) used to receive fuel from another tanker.
Head of Airbus Military Derivatives Antonio Caramazana said: “This demonstration of the last of the A330 MRTT’s refuelling systems clearly positions it as the most capable, flexible and proven transport/tanker available to the world’s air forces today. We now look forward to conducting the first contacts with Royal Air Force fighters in the coming months.”
Defence Talk reports that 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.