The Brazilian air force (FAB) has taken delivery of its first of two Airbus A330-200s acquired for conversion into the airframer’s multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) configuration. To initially be flown in the air transport role, the future KC-30 touched down at the service’s Galeao air base on 26 July.
Cirium fleets data shows that the lead aircraft (MSN1492) – now with the registration 2901 – was first flown in October 2014 and saw commercial use with Avianca and latterly Azul, before being withdrawn from use and parked in March 2020.
The widebody is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines, and has a cabin layout accommodating 30 business- and 222 economy-class seats. To be delivered later this year, the second aircraft (to be registered 2902) is currently undergoing maintenance with Joramco in Jordan.
“With the acquisition, the FAB increases its capacity in strategic actions, such as in-flight refuelling, logistical support, humanitarian actions and aeromedical evacuation, whether national or international,” the service says.
“It was a gap we needed to fill in terms of being able to carry large loads over large distances,” adds Lieutenant Brigadier Sergio Roberto de Almeida, the official responsible for leading the acquisition.
Cirium indicates that aircraft 2901 is due to enter the MRTT conversion process in June 2023, with the work to be completed by December 2024. Airbus Defence & Space will perform the activity at its Getafe modification site near Madrid.
Brazil previously operated the Boeing 707-dervied KC-137 in the tanker role, with the type equipped with under-wing hose and drogue refuelling pods. Operations with the type ended in 2013.
Meanwhile, Airbus on 27 July announced that the NATO Support and Procurement Agency has contracted it to deliver continued A330 support and training services for the Multinational MRTT Fleet (MMF) until the end of 2032.
Five of the MMF’s nine on-order aircraft have been delivered to Eindhoven air base in the Netherlands, with the pooling and sharing programme involving the nation plus Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxembourg and Norway.
And on 19 July, Airbus announced that Spain’s National Institute for Aerospace Technology has certified its automatic air-to-air refuelling, or A3R, boom technology for use in daylight conditions. This followed flight trials performed in collaboration with the Republic of Singapore Air Force.