Thursday, February 4, 2010

AWACS test boosts Australia's KC-30A tanker programme

By Craig Hoyle

The Royal Australian Air Force's first Airbus A330-based multirole tanker/transport has for the first time passed fuel to another large aircraft, moving the type closer to its delayed service entry late this year.One of five RAAF-designated KC-30As on order, the modified airliner transferred almost 30t of fuel from its centreline boom to a French air force Boeing E-3F airborne warning and control system aircraft during two test flights conducted from Airbus Military's Getafe site near Madrid.

"This is a significant milestone in the programme," says Antonio Caramazana, vice-president and head of Airbus Military Derivatives. "The E-3 AWACS is a challenge because of its aerodynamics characteristics due to the large radome. The AWACS crew reported that the handling of the aircraft was very smooth during the refuelling operation." This was conducted at an altitude of around 20,000ft [6,100m] and at 250kt [460km/h], says Airbus..........Flight Global

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