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​Singapore joins ranks of A330 MRTT operators

The Singapore air force’s first Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has arrived in the country.

Images posted on social media show the aircraft landing at Changi International Airport, adjacent to the Changi West air base where the nation's Boeing KC-135R tankers are stationed.

Flight tracking sites indicate that the aircraft (S/N 1762) flew direct to Singapore from Madrid’s Getafe air base.

Neither the nation’s defence ministry nor the air force announced the tanker’s arrival. The aircraft’s livery, however, recognises the 50-year history of the Republic of Singapore Air Force, with ‘RSAF 50’ on the tail, and ‘Our Home, Above All’ on the engine cowling.

Flight Fleets Analyzer indicates that the jet is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60EP powerplants, and that its first flight was on 10 November 2016.

In addition to a hose-and-drogue refuelling pod on both wings, the aircraft is also equipped with a refuelling boom. The aircraft has 260 passenger seats, and can be used to carry cargo pallets.

Singapore has five additional A330 MRTT’s on order. These will replace the nation’s four obsolescent Boeing KC-135Rs, which have an average age of 55.9 years.

The arrival brings the number of in service A330 MRTTs in service to 26. Other operators include the UK, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

The Singapore arrival comes days after Canberra announced that its A330 MRTTs – designated KC-30A in Australian service – have delivered 100 million pounds of fuel (45,000t) during air-to-air refuelling missions in support of coalition missions over the Middle East.

The KC-30A has been a significant force multiplier for the Air Force and has proven itself over Iraq as part of Operation OKRA,” said RAAF air marshal Mel Hupfeld. “Just one KC-30A can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft over 5,000km and has the versatility to refuel a range of different aircraft types.”

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