Airbus Military has begun bench testing systems for a signals intelligence variant of the A320, as part of a drive to expand its offering of military derivatives of Airbus commercial platforms.

Equipment is being tested at one of the company's facilities near Madrid under a self-funded feasibility study, says Miguel-Angel Morell, senior vice-president engineering and technology. He confirms that applications being tested "are electronic, communications and signals intelligence".

Senior vice-president commercial Antonio Rodriguez-Barberán says: "We have initiated preliminary conversations with some potential customers with regard to an application of this type. We will do this with the same philosophy as our other platforms: we are there to win."

 A320 SIGINT - Airbus Military
© Airbus Military

Previous efforts to offer a development of the A321 for NATO's alliance ground surveillance requirement and an A319-based maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian navy failed to secure production orders.

Meanwhile, Airbus expects to receive military certification for its A330-based multirole tanker transport in July, clearing the way for the type (below) to enter delayed service with launch customer the Royal Australian Air Force before the end of the year.

 A330 MRTT - Airbus Military
© Airbus Military

Canberra's first two of five renamed KC-30As have transferred more than 250t of fuel during development and certification testing, says A330 MRTT chief test pilot Eduardo Cuadrado García.

Source: Flight International