Australia's third of five Airbus A330-based KC-30A multi-role tanker transports has touched down at Amberley air base in Queensland, with Airbus Military to complete deliveries of the type during 2012.
Handed over to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on 8 November, the latest aircraft follows an initial two which were accepted in June after a programme delay. All three examples received so far were modified for the tanker mission in Australia by Qantas Defence Services (QDS).
Australia's other two aircraft will be delivered within the next few months. Airbus Military will hand over one at its Getafe site, near Madrid in Spain, in December, with the remaining example to follow next year. The aircraft recently entered conversion work with QDS at its Brisbane airport facility.
© Airbus Military
Powered by General Electric CF6-80E engines, the RAAF's new aircraft have been equipped with Cobham-supplied under-wing hose and drogue refuelling pods and an Airbus Military-developed aerial refuelling boom system. They can also transport up to 270 passengers.
Meanwhile, the UK is awaiting the arrival of its first A330-based Voyager tanker/transport at the Royal Air Force's Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire, southern England. The first of 14 such aircraft to be fielded via a private finance initiative deal with the AirTanker consortium, the platform is still in Getafe awaiting the completion of pre-delivery paperwork. The process should be completed "within days", according to one industry source.
The first personnel from the RAF's 10 Sqn have recently entered training to fly the Voyager, which will replace aged fleets of Lockheed TriStars and Vickers VC10s.