PICTURES: RAAF conducts boom refuelling trials between KC-30A and E-7A Wedgetail

June 18, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

20150610raaf8437718_0145.JPG20150610raaf8437718_0145.JPGKC-30A MRTT and E-7A Wedgetail conduct Air to Air refuelling testing in the airspace near RAAF Williamtown. *** Local Caption *** Air-to-air refuelling trials between KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and E-7A Wedgetail

From 1-13 June 2015, air-to-air refuelling (AAR) trials were conducted between a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft for the first time. The KC-30A utilised its 17-metre-long Aerial Refuelling Boom System, which is capable of offloading fuel at up to 4500 litres per minute. During the trials, a total of seven sorties were flown by each aircraft, during which they conducted 118 'dry' contacts with the KC-30A's refuelling boom, and six 'wet' contacts, with a 20 tonnes of fuel being transferred. The trials were conducted under the direction of the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), and will allow a significant increase in mission range and endurance for the Wedgetail.

© Commonwealth of Australia / FLTLT Drew Abbott

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has performed a series of air-to-air refuelling trials between the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and the E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft. The trials were conducted from 1 to 13 June 2015 off the coast of New South Wales in the airspace near RAAF Base Williamtown. Seven sorties were flown by both aircraft, during which 118 'dry' contacts and six 'wet contacts' were made utilising the KC-30A's Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS). This development is the latest in a series of RAAF KC-30A milestones following the first air-to-air refuelling boom contact between a pair of KC-30As in May 2015.

While the KC-30A has been cleared to refuel other aircraft in flight with its hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, which have been used to great effect in refuelling RAAF and coalition aircraft in Operation OKRA over Iraq, its boom capability has encountered significant delays. It is understood that discussions have been held with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) over refuelling trials with its F-15SGs and F-16C/Ds. The RAAF will also conduct air-to-air refuelling tests with the F-35A at Edwards AFB in California in the near future.
20150610raaf8437718_0165.JPG20150610raaf8437718_0165.JPGKC-30A MRTT and E-7A Wedgetail conduct Air to Air refuelling testing in the airspace near RAAF Williamtown. *** Local Caption *** Air-to-air refuelling trials between KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and E-7A Wedgetail

From 1-13 June 2015, air-to-air refuelling (AAR) trials were conducted between a RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft for the first time. The KC-30A utilised its 17-metre-long Aerial Refuelling Boom System, which is capable of offloading fuel at up to 4500 litres per minute. During the trials, a total of seven sorties were flown by each aircraft, during which they conducted 118 'dry' contacts with the KC-30A's refuelling boom, and six 'wet' contacts, with a 20 tonnes of fuel being transferred. The trials were conducted under the direction of the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU), and will allow a significant increase in mission range and endurance for the Wedgetail.

© Commonwealth of Australia / FLTLT Drew Abbott

Update 26 June 2015: IHS Jane's has reported that the RAAF could acquire an additional two A330 MRTTs to form a fleet of seven aircraft. Rumours indicate that both of these aircraft could be converted from ex-Qantas A330-200s.


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