The Omega Air KDC-10 tanker is here to remind visitors that a contract air refueling service is readily available. It brought the two Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets across the Atlantic to Farnborough last week; the U.S. Navy is Omega’s prime customer, buying about 85 percent of the Irish company’s tanking output, which was nearly 1,600 hours last year with the KDC-10 and three KC-707s.
The drive to find international customers for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor continues, prompting four U.S. Marine Corps MV-22s to make a transatlantic trip to fly displays and demonstrations here at Farnborough and at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at Fairford last weekend. Aircraft for export could easily be slotted into the expected second American multi-year buy, Col. Greg Masiello, joint V-22 program manager, U.S.
Airbus Military has taken orders for 28 A330 MRTT (multi-role tanker-transport) aircraft, and by the end of this year 13 are due to be in service. The program has encountered a number of teething troubles, but the company reports that they are being solved as the aircraft expands the envelope of its operational experience.
Alenia’s C-27J tactical airlifter has recently undergone a series of successful refueling trials with an Italian air force Boeing KC-767A tanker. During the test campaign the C-27J undertook “contacts” at altitudes between 10,000 and 20,000 feet, and at speeds of up to 220 knots. The trials also involved tanking at night with night-vision goggles. Refueling runs during turns, in turbulence and in an emergency descent were also accomplished successfully.
Operating as a Tier Two and Three supplier of components and subsystems to major aerospace and defense manufacturers, the UK-based Cobham group has evolved over eight decades into a company generating almost $3 billion per year in revenues. The multinational group now has content on the most recognized aircraft platforms either flying or in development.
This year should prove to be a momentous one for the Airbus Military A400M. On the last day of April, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) granted the multinational airlifter–also dubbed the Grizzly–its initial type certification shortly after the five-aircraft test fleet had notched up the type’s 1,000th flight.
The recent comprehensive preliminary design review for the KC-46 tanker uncovered no significant issues beyond what was known from the three reviews already conducted since the engineering manufacturing and development (EMD) contract was signed in February 2011, according to Chuck Johnson, Boeing vice president for mobility. “We are a low-risk program being managed as moderate risk,” he told journalists in Washington last month.
Ten conversions of Airbus A330 airliners into Multi Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF), which were scheduled to be done by Cobham Aviation Services at Bournemouth Airport in the UK, have been switched to Airbus Military (AM) at Getafe, Madrid. Nearly half of the 675 workers at Bournemouth will lose their jobs because of the switch.
In a preliminary NTSB report on the June 3 Lockheed P2V Neptune tanker accident 20 miles north of Modena, Utah, the board said, “While conducting its second retardant drop of the day, Tanker 11 followed behind the lead airplane into the drop zone.
The Airbus Military A400M is spreading its wings, as the once-troubled program makes progress toward first delivery early next year. The airlifter went to South America last month and Southeast Asia this week, for viewing by potential customers. The company said last November that it hopes to sell about 300 A400Ms over the next 20 years, and that the first production slots for new customers are available in 2016-17.