Qantas Defence Services has received its second of four Airbus A330-200s to be converted to a multi-role tanker transport standard for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Delivered to the company's Brisbane airport facilities in Queensland on 25 June from Airbus Military's Getafe site near Madrid in Spain, the aircraft will begin its transformation to the KC-30A configuration. This includes the addition of military equipment, under-wing hose and drogue refuelling pods and a refuelling boom mounted beneath its rear fuselage.

Qantas began converting its first A330 in June 2008, with this expected to be the first of five KC-30As - including a prototype now in advanced flight testing in Spain - to enter RAAF service from around mid-2010.

 KC-30B Qantas
© Qantas Defence Services

Qantas received its first aircraft for modification in June 2008

In-country conversion of the first aircraft "is progressing well", says Greg Combet, minister for defence personnel, materiel and science. The tanker is expected to leave Brisbane later this year for Getafe, where it will complete its "extensive certification and qualification flight-test programme", he adds.

Airbus Military has recently conducted dry contacts between Australia's prototype A330 tanker and a French air force Boeing C-135, and used the new type's Cobham 905E under-wing pods to connect with Spanish air force Boeing EF-18 fighters (below). Data gathering and flight control law work on the configuration has now been successfully completed, says Combet.

 KC-30 Hornet contact - Airbus Military
© Airbus Military

The RAAF's KC-30A fleet will be operated from Amberley air base, Queensland. The service lacks and in-flight refuelling capability, having retired its last Boeing 707-based tanker in June 2008.

Source: Flight International