The Royal Australian Air Force has conducted its first flight with the KC-30A multi-role tanker transport, and expects to declare initial operating capability late next year.

The aircraft, A39-002, conducted a 2h 45min flight from its base at RAAF Amberley in Queensland, said the Department of Defence.

The eight-person crew of the converted Airbus A330-200 used the flight to check systems and procedures.

 KC-30A debut - Australian DoD
© Australian Department of Defence

"Personnel will now begin an intensive operational test and evaluation flying programme for the aircraft," the DoD said. "Initial operational capability is expected in late 2012."

Australia received the first two of its eventual five KC-30As in June 2011. Airbus Military will deliver two more by the end of this year.

Qantas Defence Services is now converting the fifth and final A330-200 aircraft into a KC-30A tanker at its Brisbane facility, with this aircraft to be delivered in 2012.

The RAAF's KC-30As are being delivered in a 270-seat, two-class configuration, in addition to having under-wing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods and an air refuelling boom system. The aircraft has a maximum fuel capacity of 111 tonnes.

Source: Flight International