Singapore will obtain the Airbus Defence & Space A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT), its defence ministry has confirmed.
The disclosure was made via the ministry's Cyberpioneer Twitter account, which says: "(The) air force will replace ageing KC-135R with Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport aircraft.”
The posting did not determine how many examples the Republic of Singapore Air Force will obtain, but Airbus has previously confirmed tabling a proposal for six of the type.
Singapore’s interest in the A330 MRTT has long been rumored. It is understood that it also had considered Boeing's in-development KC-46A tanker for the requirement.
Given Singapore's use of the Boeing F-15SG, which requires a boom for air-to-air refuelling, the country is likely to obtain its aircraft in a configuration similar to those used by the Royal Australian Air Force, which also includes a hose and drogue refuelling pod under each wing. The latter will support types including a potential future Singaporean fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35Bs.
Based on the A330-200 airliner, the MRTT is capable of carrying approaching 300 passengers in an airliner-style cabin, as well as performing air-to-air refuelling duties. Singapore firm ST Aerospace has a long history of aircraft modifications and upgrades, and is well placed to perform the conversion programme for the nation's future A330 MRTT fleet.
Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records Singapore's air force as operating four KC-135Rs, using airframes originally manufactured between 1960 and 1964.
The Cybyerpioneer account also confirms Singaporean plans to obtain two additional Sikorsky S-70B maritime helicopters. Flightglobal originally reported this procurement in February 2013.
Source: Flight International