The Airbus A330 MRTT versatile refueling aircraft is a new generation refueling aircraft based on the regular A330-200 passenger aircraft.
The Airbus A330 MRTT can carry 111 tons of fuel, 300 soldiers or 45 tons of cargo. This type of aircraft is used in the Royal Australian Air Force, UAE Air Force, Saudi Royal Air Force.
Airbus’ advanced supply system allows A330 MRTT to help F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-35 Lightning II fighters receive “milk” quickly. The air-to-air refuelling (AAR) is operated by a control system in the cockpit.
First revealed in July 2014, the A330 MRTT is said to have improved in structure and system compared to commercial civil aircraft and fitted with specialized military equipment.
Upgraded from the commercial A330 family, the A330 MRTT has been significantly improved to optimize its structure, aerodynamic design, and install specialized computers with the Power-8 system, including versatile display screens and new aviation electronics software.
The current price for an A330 tanker is $ 300 million estimated, which is not small. According to Airbus, the new generation A330 MRTT is the perfect replacement for older aircraft under fleet replacement programmes. With 60 total aircraft sales as of February 2019, the A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Air Force, French Air Force and Republic of Korea Air Force, among others.
The aircraft has a length of 58.8m, a wingspan of 60.3m, a height of 17.4m and a wing area of 362 square meters. The empty weight and maximum takeoff weight are 125 tons and 233 tons, respectively. It can be seen that this is a medium sized aircraft, designed with a wide body, two engines suspended under the wings.
Airbus offers customers the option of an engine, two engines fitted to the A330 MRTT could be the Rolls-Royce Trent 772B, or General Electric CF6-80E1A4, or Pratt & Whitney PW 4170, each provides approximately 320 kiloNewton thrust. The aircraft can reach a maximum speed of 880 km/h, a service ceiling of 13,000m, a combat radius of 1,800 km with 50 tons of fuel for 4 hours.
The A330 MRTT is the most effective tanker based on its unmatched fuel capacity that allows it to offload more fuel at any given distance than any competitor. More fuel on-board means more flexibility, more range and longer time on station. Its fast fuel flow rate, up to a maximum of 3,600 kg/min, makes this tanker is the most capable new-generation flight-proven boom available. With a large internal fuel capacity, it can refuel six fighters en-route.
The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force, French Air Force, United Arab Emirates Air Force, Republic of Singapore Air Force, and others. A total of 12 nations have placed firm orders for approximately 60 aircraft, of which 33 have been delivered by the end of 2018. A version of the A330 MRTT, the KC-45, was proposed to the United States Air Force.
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