The first Airbus Military A330 MRTT new generation tanker/transport has formally been delivered to, and accepted by the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base Amberley (Queensland, Australia) on 1st June 2011 at a ceremony attended by DMO, RAAF, Qantas and Airbus Military representatives.
"This is a very major and long awaited milestone for the A330 MRTT programme", said Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena. "I wish to congratulate and thank herewith all the teams - internal and external, with special mention to our world class suppliers Cobham, Thales and Qantas. They all have been working extremely hard to develop, test and certify this all new multi role tanker and transport aircraft which really is the "21st Century benchmark" in its category. My very special thanks also go to our customers and, above all, the Royal Australian Air Force, for having placed their faith in our product. Their contribution was a key factor for making the A330 MRTT what it is today. We are now very keen to see it demonstrate its worth in real operations".
The aircraft, which had left Madrid on 27th May, was ferried to Amberley where it arrived on Monday 30th May at 15h00 local time. On its ferry flight, the A330 MRTT was flown by Airbus Military and RAAF crews, and transited via McCarran (Nevada) and Hickam (Hawaii) in the USA.
The aircraft is the second converted by Qantas Defence Services in Brisbane, which was returned to Europe for painting and finishing. It will be joined by the second aircraft for the RAAF in June, and two further aircraft later in the year. The fifth and final aircraft ordered by the RAAF, which arrived in Brisbane for conversion with Qantas Defence Services a few days ago, will be delivered next year.
The delivery of the aircraft to the RAAF follows an extensive development and test programme for what is the world's only certified and flying new generation tanker/transport aircraft. Civil Supplemental Type Certificate was obtained in March 2010, and the military certification followed in October.
In RAAF service, the A330 MRTT will be equipped with two underwing refuelling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refuelled from another tanker. It is powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines. It is equipped with a comprehensive defensive aids suite (DAS) and fitted with 270 passenger seats.
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