UAE Air Force Receives First Airbus Military A330 MRTT


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UAE Air Force Receives First Airbus Military A330 MRTT

By Shane Nolan

April 13, 2011 - The first Airbus Military A330 MRTT for the United Arab Emirates Air Force has successfully completed its maiden flight following conversion of the aircraft in Madrid. The crew reported that the aircraft, its systems and two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines performed entirely satisfactorily during the 2hr 55min flight on 9th April.  

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refueling tanker aircraft based on the civilian A330-200. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), UK's Royal Air Force (RAF), United Arab Emirates Air Force, and Royal Saudi Air Force. The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the United States Air Force. 

As it features some different avionics, and is the first ?receiver? to be powered by the Rolls- Royce Trent engine, the UAE A330 MRTT now enters the certification and qualification phase for these new elements. 

The first of three ordered by the UAE AF, it will transfer to Abu Dhabi around the end of the year for the final phase of flight-testing leading to delivery in the second quarter of 2012. Prior to this flight, six A330 MRTTs had already flown. Those include three for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), two for the UK Royal Air Force, and one for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Two of the aircraft are already technically complete and ready for delivery to the RAAF, pending finalization of contractual discussion. Page 2 of 2 The picture shows the first A330 MRTT for the UAE AF landing at Airbus Military?s Getafe base. 

Having received supplemental type certificate from European civil certification Authority EASA in March 2010 and military certification from Spanish Authority INTA in October, the Airbus Military A330 MRTT is the only new generation strategic tanker transport aircraft flying and available today.  

The large 111 tons 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 Refueling missions without the need for any additional fuel tank. The A330 MRTT is offered with a choice of proven air-to-air refueling systems including an advanced Airbus Military Aerial Refueling Boom System, and/or a pair of under-wing hose and drogue pods, and/or a Fuselage Refueling Unit. 

Thanks to its true wide-body fuselage, the A330 MRTT can also be used as a pure transport aircraft able to carry 300 troops, or a payload of up to 45 tons/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.  

On January 19, 2011, an incident happened over the Atlantic Ocean between an A330MRTT and a F-16 from the Portuguese Air Force while refueling. Early reports indicate that the boom broke off at the aft end of boom near the F-16's receptacle which caused the boom to recoil into the underside of the A330MRTT. The boom then became uncontrollable and oscillated until it broke off the boom assembly at the pivot point.

Both aircraft were damaged, but both landed safely. The A330 MRTT was an Airbus Company development aircraft and the Australian Military issued a statement that the aircraft was operated by an Airbus crew with no Australian personnel on board. At the time of the accident, Airbus had not yet commenced deliveries to the RAAF.

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