Airbus A330 MRTT

Airbus A330 MRTT

Infobox Aircraft
name = A330 MRTT / KC-30B

type = Aerial refuelling and transport

caption =
manufacturer= EADS (Airbus)
first flight=15 June 2007
status= Flight Testing
primary user= Royal Air Force
more users=Royal Australian Air Force United Arab Emirates Air Force Royal Saudi Air Force
number built=
unit cost=
developed from = Airbus A330
variants with their own articles = Northrop Grumman KC-45

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian A330-200. The Northrop Grumman KC-45 is a version of the A330 MRTT for the United States Air Force.

Design and development

The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is a military derivative of the Airbus A330 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role air refuelling tanker and cargo transport aircraft. The wing air refuelling pods are supplied by the British company Cobham. The cargo hold has been modified to be able to transport military pallets in addition to civilian ULD.

The A330 has a large internal fuel capacity of 111,000 kg (122 short tons) in the wings; fuel capacity can be further increased with underfloor tanks, which would not compromise main deck cargo capacity or seating in the strategic transport role. Standard fuel capacity allows the carriage of an additional 43,000 kg of cargo. Another major benefit of the A330 MRTT is its wing has common structure as the four-engine A340-200/-300 with reinforced mounting locations for the A340's outboard engines. The A330 MRTT's wing therefore requires little modification for use of these hardpoints for the refuelling pods. [ [ A330-200 Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) - Multi-Role Tanker Transporter (MRTT), Europe] ,]

Standard commercial A330s will be delivered to EADS Spain for fitting of refuelling equipment and military avionics. The first delivery is planned for late 2009. [ [ "Saudi Arabia picks EADS to supply three Airbus A330-based tankers"] , January 3, 2008.]

Operational history

The A330 MRTT has been selected by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) (5 aircraft), as well as the UK under the RAF's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) project, to take the place of older tanker aircraft. In both cases the A330 MRTT competed against the Boeing 767 AAR derivative. The RAF will replace both the Vickers VC10 and Lockheed Tristar based tankers, while the RAAF is replacing its Boeing 707 tanker/transports. Further orders were announced in 2007 from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for three aircraft each.


The RAAF's five airframes will be equipped with both a probe and drogue and a refuelling boom. Australia was initially to procure four aircraft with an option to obtain a fifth, however the RAAF has since decided to go ahead with the procurement of the fifth aircraft to allow for two simultaneous deployments of two aircraft, with the fifth providing contingency cover. All of Australia's Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft will be operated by No. 33 Squadron RAAF based at RAAF Base Amberley from 2009 on cite web |url=|title=KC-30B Multi-Role Tanker Final Testing |] . The Australian aircraft will be designated KC-30B Multi-Role Tanker Transports.cite web |url= |title=KC-30B Multi-Role Tanker Transport |publisher=Royal Australian Air Force]

United Kingdom

In January 2004, the UK Ministry of Defence announced that the A330 MRTT had been selected to provide air-refuelling for the RAF for the next 30 years under the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme. The UK Ministry of Defence then began exclusive negotiations with the Airtanker consortium. However, beginning in April 2004, there have been continuing rumours on the fragile state of the contract negotiations. This culminated in an ultimatum by the UK's Defence Procurement Agency, delivered to EADS, demanding a reduced price for the aircraft.

In June 2007, The UK Ministry of Defense gave the green light to a private finance initiative deal worth about £13 billion ($26 billion) to equip the UK Royal Air Force with the 14 A330 MRTT tankers, which will begin to replace the Royal Air Force's existing L-1011 and VC10 tankers from 2011 - two years later than originally planned. The RAF aircraft will operate solely with the probe and drogue (also used with Airbus A310 MRTT).

On 27 March 2008 The UK Ministry of Defense signed a deal to lease 14 aircraft from EADS led consortium AirTanker, with the first aircraft due to enter service in 2011. [cite web|url=|title=EADS wins £13bn RAF tanker deal|publisher=BBC News]

United States

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) ran a procurement program to replace around 100 of their oldest KC-135E Stratotankers, i.e., initially excluding the more common updated KC-135R variant. EADS offered the A330 MRTT. The Boeing KC-767 was selected in 2002, [ [ "Boeing Given Nod on Tanker Lease"] , Military-Aerospace Technology Magazine; volume: 1, issue: 2, 2002-05-01.] but the USAF cancelled the KC-767 order when the deal became embroiled in a political controversy due to the nature of the lease agreement. [cite news|last=Cahlink |first=George |url= |date=2004-10-01 |publisher= |title= Ex-Pentagon procurement executive gets jail time]

In 2006, the USAF released a request for proposal (RFP) for a new tanker aircraft, to be selected by 2007, which was updated in January 2007, to the KC-X RFP, one of three acquisition programs that are intended to replace the entire KC-135 fleet.cite news |url= |title=Air Force Posts KC-X Request for Proposals |work=Release Number: 070107 |publisher=United States Air Force |date=2007-01-30] The Airbus A330 MRTT was proposed again by EADS and Northrop Grumman as the KC-30. It again competed against the Boeing KC-767, which is a smaller aircraft (holds about 20 percent less fuel), less cargo, but is also cheaper (about 120 million vs 160 million 2005 US dollars).

The Air Force announced on February 29, 2008, that the KC-30 was chosen as the KC-135 replacement, and will be designated the KC-45A. [ [ At Boeing, shock - and then anger ] ] [Butler, Amy, Fulghum, Davis A and Wall, Robert. [ "Northrop/EADS Clinches U.S. Refueler Deal"] , "Aviation Week", February 29, 2008.]

On June 18, 2008, the United States Government Accountability Office sustained a protest by The Boeing Company on the award of the contract to Northrop Grumman and EADS.cite web |url= |title=Statement Regarding the Bid Protest Decision Resolving the Aerial Refueling Tanker Protest by the Boeing Company |publisher=Government Accountability Office |date=2008-06-18 |accessdate=2008-06-18] The status of the KC-45A is in doubt and the Air Force may have to rebid the contract, potentially reversing their earlier decision.cite web |url= |title=GAO backs Boeing tanker protest |publisher=King 5 News |date=2008-06-18 |accessdate=2008-06-18]

On 10 September 2008, bidding was canceled. A new competition between the KC-45 and KC-767 (or possibly the KC-777, a 777 derivative which had been considered previously) will be opened sometime in 2009. [cite web |url=,2933,420143,00.html |title=Pentagon Postpones $35B Air Force Tanker Competition Until 2009 |publisher=Fox News Channel |date=2008-09-10 |accessdate=2008-09-14]

United Arab Emirates

In early 2007, the United Arab Emirates announced it had signed a MOU with Airbus for three A330 tankers. [cite news |url= |title=UAE to buy 3 Airbus refuelling aircraft |work=Khaleej Times Online |date=2007-02-20]

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia finalized an agreement to purchase three A330 MRTT tankers on 3 January 2008. [ [ "Saudi Arabia picks EADS to supply three Airbus A330-based tankers"] , January 3, 2008.]


aircraft specifications/switch
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
crew=3: 2 pilots, 1 AAR operator
capacity= 226-280 [ [ Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems - KC-45 Tanker] ] troops
length main=195 ft 10 in
length alt=59.69 m
span main=197 ft 10 in
span alt=60.3 m
height main=58 ft 8 in
height alt=17.89 m
area main=3892 ft²
area alt=361.6 m²
empty weight main= 265,657 lb
empty weight alt= 120,500 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main=507,063 lb
max takeoff weight alt=230,000 kg
engine (jet)=Rolls-Royce Trent 700 or General Electric CF6-80
type of jet=turbofans
number of jets=2
thrust main=71,000 lbf
thrust alt=316 kN
max speed main=475 knots, 547 mph
max speed alt=880 km/h
cruise speed main=464 knots, 534 mph
cruise speed alt=860 km/h
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
range main=6,750 nm, 7,770 mi
range alt=12,500 km
ceiling main=41,000 ft
ceiling alt=12,500 m
climb rate main= ft/min
climb rate alt= m/s
loading main=
loading alt=

ee also

* Airbus A330
* Airbus A310 MRTT
* Northrop Grumman KC-45
similar aircraft=
* KC-135 Stratotanker
* Boeing KC-767
* List of tanker aircraft
see also=
* Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft
* KC-X


External links

* [ Official KC-30 Tanker website]
* [ Airtanker Consortium]
* [ Rivals eye Boeing's US airforce deal, by Jorn Madslien, BBC News]
* [ RAAF: New tankers to take on many roles]

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