9/25/2007 - MELBOURNE, FL -- The first KC-30 Tanker aircraft
completed its maiden flight today, underscoring the production
strategy selected by Northrop Grumman Corporation's KC-30 industry
team for the U.S. Air Force's KC-135 tanker replacement program.
Aircraft "D-1" flew for nearly four hours and will
be the first aircraft delivered to the U.S. Air Force if the
Northrop Grumman team is awarded the KC-X contract. Contract
award is currently expected in December 2007 or early January
The KC-30 Tanker's commercial airframe, the A330, is a highly
successful market leader in its class. The active, flexible
and high-volume commercial production line for the A330 is supported
by a fully operational industrial supply chain that includes
leading U.S.-based suppliers. More than 1,281 A330s have been
delivered and ordered to date, serving 87 operators worldwide.
Current orders for the commercial A330 exceed 300 aircraft,
with this number expected to grow considerably.
The A330 is also highly successful in the world's military
tanker market, having won the last three international tanker
competitions head-to-head against the KC-767. Australia, United
Kingdom and United Arab Emirates have all selected the A330
platform to serve as their next-generation tanker.
"Our KC-30 Tanker production plan leverages a highly successful
commercial market leader that gives the U.S. Air Force a proven,
reliable, and flexible production process. We're providing a
modern aircraft that is available today with a considerable
backlog for the future, a process we will transfer to our production
facility in Mobile, Alabama," said Paul Meyer, Northrop
Grumman vice president and general manager of the KC-30 program.
"With the first KC-30 Tanker aircraft now airborne, we
have demonstrated the unique advantages of using a high-rate
commercial production line which is currently building and delivering
the most modern and advanced aircraft available for the refueling
After its flight tests, the first KC-30 Tanker will be ready
to be outfitted for the aerial refueling role. This is the same
configuration selected by the Royal Australian Air Force, whose
first KC-30B Tanker is complete and being prepared for delivery.
"The successful maiden flight of aircraft number one is
tangible evidence of the strength of the KC-30 Tanker team,
our ability to deliver a quality system to our customer on schedule
and the reality of the Northrop Grumman KC-30 team's low risk
approach," said John H. Young, Jr., CEO of EADS North America
A powerful U.S. and allied industrial team led by Northrop
Grumman have been established to produce and supply KC-30 Tankers
for the U.S. Air Force. The aircraft is based on the A330 Multi-role
Tanker Transport (MRTT), which was selected by the air forces
of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
The KC-30 Tanker aircraft will be assembled in Mobile, Ala.,
and the KC-30 team will employ 25,000 American workers at 230
U.S. companies. It will be built by a world-class industrial
team led by Northrop Grumman, and includes EADS North America,
General Electric Aviation and Sargent Fletcher.
About the KC-30: Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker carries 45,000
more pounds of fuel than a KC-135 or any competitor, providing
a significant boost to the U.S. Air Force's global reach. The
KC-30 is also designed to refuel Navy and coalition aircraft,
and to serve as a multi-role transport aircraft to move passengers,
cargo and medical evacuation patients. The KC-30 incorporates
defense systems, precision fly-by-wire technology, and the ability
to integrate a militarized communications suite and a global
Source: Northrop-Grumman Press Release