A330 MRTT Flight Test Program Progresses at Fast Pace

Spanish Air Force EF-18B #CE.15-11 conducts AR testing with the first production A330 MRTT aircraft for the RAAF.
Photo: EADS

1/28/2008 - Flight-testing of the A330 MRTT, the first production aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), has continued at a fast pace and initial handling and performance evaluation are as predicted.

All aerodynamic tests for the A330 MRTT have been completed successfully, as well as testing of handling quality, performance, loads, autopilot and anemometry. An important feature of the process included flutter testing and the flight envelope has been successfully cleared.

In the next few days, the Civil Certification flight tests with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) are scheduled to be performed.

As part of the tests hose stability data gathering has been completed and pre-contact position trials conducted with an F-18 fighter aircraft.

“We are on track and proud of the results we are getting, right in line with our expectations. We are becoming a reference in the air-to-air refuelling technology and systems with the market’s acknowledgement”, said Carlos Suarez, Head of EADS Military Transport Aircraft Division and Chairman of EADS CASA.

The government of Saudi Arabia has recently signed a contract for three (3) A330 MRTTs to upgrade their AAR fleet. It has also been selected by the UAE and the UK. The KC-30 that has been proposed to the USAF by Northrop Grumman as a replacement for the KC-135 is based on the A330 MRTT.

In the meantime the EADS A310 Boom Demonstrator aircraft has been conducting proximity tests with the A330 MRTT to collect data relevant to large aircraft refuelling. The next step will be for the A310 to perform more dry contacts with an F-16 and/or a NATO AWACS E-3A as a receiver.

Source: EADS Press Release

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