Airbus Military has successfully completed receiver qualification of the two primary aircraft-types that the UAE Air Force will refuel from the three A330 MRTT multi role tanker transports that it currently has on order.
In an extensive series of flight tests in Abu Dhabi, the compatibility of the new generation A330 MRTT with UAE Air Force Mirage 2000 and F-16 Block 60 fighters was fully demonstrated.
Operating from Al Dhafra airbase, the aircraft performed air-to-air refuelling at speeds throughout the refuelling flight envelope, at a range of altitudes, and in turns, climbs and descents as well as level flight.
Other versions of the F-16 have already been qualified with the A330 MRTT, but the trials added the Block 60 variant used by the UAE which features large conformal fuel tanks on the fuselage. The F-16 was refuelled using the A330 MRTT’s Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS).
The Mirage 2000 was successfully tested in different configurations including the twin-seat version carrying two drop-tanks and two air-to-air missiles, and the single-seat version carrying six missiles and a centreline drop-tank. To refuel the Mirage 2000, the A330 MRTT used its two underwing refuelling pods, including demonstrations of refuelling two fighters simultaneously.
Antonio Caramazana, Vice President Programme Director Airbus Military Derivatives, said: “It is very satisfying to qualify another two aircraft types as receivers for the A330 MRTT and we look forward to entry into service with the UAE Air Force later this year.”
Crew training with UAE pilots is currently underway in Spain and the first two A330 MRTTs for the UAE, including the one that took part in the trials, are due to be delivered before the end of the year.
Source: Airbus, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)
Date: Mar 26, 2012