Airbus Defence & Space has demonstrated the capability of its C295W transport to act as a tanker.

A palletised refuelling unit was installed on a company-owned example for the 29 September trials, along with the computer system required to control the procedure.

The medium transport successfully made multiple contacts with a probe-equipped C295 operated by the Spanish air force, with both crews reporting “extremely smooth operation” at speeds down to 110kt (203km/h).

Airbus Defence & Space

Designed to extend the range of search and rescue aircraft, and for special operations missions, the system will be used for refuelling turboprops, helicopters, and in the future, unmanned air vehicles. Further trials with a helicopter receiver are planned before the end of the year, Airbus says.Airbus revealed plans in early 2016 to develop the capability for the C295, largely as a result of the delay in rolling it out on its larger A400M transport. The company said at the time that the refuelling function could be available on the C295 during 2017.

The winglet-equipped version of the C295 is in service with Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Uzbekistan, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows, while India has an ongoing requirement for 56 examples.