Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport
The new Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport), which is based on the highly successful civilian A330-200, has been designed to be used as an air refueling tanker, as well as a cargo transport aircraft for military use.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has selected five A330 MRTTs to replace its current Boeing 707 tanker-transport airplanes. The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force (RAF) will be replacing its Lockheed Tristar and Vickers VC10 aircraft with the A330 MRTT. Further orders for the A330 MRTT have been received from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
As a new generation multi-role aircraft, the A330 MRTT aims to provide a complete air mobility solution. It has an outstanding capacity for in-flight refueling together with flexibility in cargo delivery, aero-medical evacuation and passenger transport. From a cargo standpoint, the forward and rear cargo holds of the A330 MRTT are designed to accommodate standard military pallets as well as commercial containers (LD-3). The A330 MRTT’s large cargo carrying capacity does not encroach on the main deck, which can comfortably seat a total of 272 passengers.
The cockpit of the Airbus A330 MRTT is fitted with technologically advanced equipment, incorporating side-stick controllers facilitating optimal pilot interface with the airplane’s fly-by-wire control system. The advanced Air Refueling Boom System (ARBS) of the A330 MRTT will also be controlled by means of fly-by-wire technology. The Air Refueling Boom System, which can refuel multiple aircraft simultaneously, includes an auto-disconnect envelope, custom designed for each type of receiver aircraft, as well as an automatic load alleviation system.
The A330 MRTT will be fitted with two General Electric CF6-80E1A3 turbofan engines. Generating thrust at a rate of 72,000 lbs, the CF6-80E1A3 is the most powerful engine in the CF6 range. It also incorporated a number of advanced design features, including a 3-D aerodynamic compressor, improved exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and an R88DT high pressure turbine.
The passenger seating main deck of the A330 MRTT can be designed to suit the customer’s needs. The A330 MRTT for the Royal Australian Air Force has economy class seating for 240 passengers in a 2-4-2 eight abreast configuration, with 32 business class seats in the forward cabin area. The forward passenger door has been equipped with a deployable air-stair which does away with the need for ground equipment for the loading and unloading of passengers.
With the world becoming more of a global village than ever before, there is no doubt that the A330 MRTT aircraft will be called upon to fulfill the many roles that it has been designed for.