The first of five Airbus A330 multi role tanker transports (MRTT) ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force has been rolled out of the hangar at the conversion centre of EADS Casa in Getafe near Madrid.
The contract to convert the RAAF's A330s into MRTTs was signed on 20 December 2004 between EADS Casa and Australia.
The five A330s are due to enter service in 2009 as MRTTs and are being modified for air-to-air refuelling and personnel transport.
The RAAF's A330 MRTTs have a centerline air refueling boom system (ARBS ) with fly-by-wire controls, plus two under-wing hose and drogue pods.
The aircraft will carry an electronic warfare suite that protects against surface-to-air missile threats, along with a Link 16 network system that provides real-time airborne connectivity.
MRTTs will be capable of refuelling Boeing F/A-18 Hornets, General Dynamics F-111s, Boeing 737 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft and Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, or transporting troops.