08:09 GMT, April 29, 2009 Arlington, Virginia | The A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – on which the
Northrop Grumman KC-45 is based – has marked a new development milestone by flying as a receiver aircraft with a C-135 tanker operated by the French Air Force. During two airborne sorties, the C-135 made 20 contacts with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 MRTT, the first of five aircraft to be delivered to the RAAF.
A total of 20 contacts were made during two sorties in which the Royal Australian Air Force A330 MRTT flew as a receiver aircraft with a French Air Force C-135 tanker.
The Royal Australian Air Force is one of five military services that have selected A330-based refueling
aircraft to meet their nation’s tanker/transport requirements, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. In 2008, the United States Air Force selected the Northrop Grumman KC-45 to replace its aging KC-135 refueling fleet.
Phase two MRTT flight testing began in December 2008 and has validated the aircraft’s flight control laws and
compatibility with a broad range of military aircraft while operating as both a tanker and receiver; tested and expanded the operational envelope of the centerline refueling boom and two underwing refueling pods; and tested onboard avionics – including NATO-standard Link 16 data communications and the Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS).
A key technology on the A330 MRTT and Northrop Grumman KC-45 is the EADS advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS). The ARBS provides highly accurate, reliable in-flight refueling, with a maximum nominal fuel flow rate of 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute. A high-resolution, panoramic and 3D-vision surveillance system
enables the aircraft’s boom operator to remotely control the boom from the cockpit during day or night air-to-air refueling missions.