Northrop Grumman's KC-30 Tanker, developed for the US Air Force KC-135 tanker replacement programme, has completed its first flight.

Aircraft "D-1", a green Airbus A330-200, flew for nearly four hours and will be the first aircraft delivered to the USAF if the Northrop Grumman team is awarded the KC-X contract. Contract award is currently expected in December 2007 or early January 2008.

 © Northrop Grumman
KC-30 tanker aircraft known as "D-1" is a green Airbus A330-200

The A330-200 has been reconfigured as a strategic transport aircraft for the military market with aerial refuelling equipment installed. After its flight tests, the tanker will be ready to be outfitted for the aerial refuelling role.

Australia, the UK and United Arab Emirates have selected the A330 platform to serve as their next-generation tanker. Its direct competitor is the Boeing's KC-767. reported on 23 September that Northrop Grumman may switch to the A330-200 Freighter version, which is in development and has yet to fly.