Airbus Military has flight-tested the fuselage refueling unit (FRU) of the A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) for the first time. The Cobham-supplied FRU is a hose-and-drogue system that is fitted to the version destined for the UK Royal Air Force as its future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA). It transfers fuel at a greater rate than the underwing hose-and-drogue units that Cobham supplies for all A330MRTTs.
Marshall Aerospace has completed development of an avionics upgrade for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) fleet of nine Lockheed Tristar tanker-transports. The work was designed to avoid obsolescence problems that now affect these aging aircraft, and to provide compliance with the latest requirements for flying in civil airspace, such as CNS/ATM.
The Pentagon’s decision in the third round of the KC-X competition is now expected next month. Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hear testimony concerning the inadvertent leak of competition-sensitive data to the competing contractors.
Some in the business aviation industry leave behind their families and jobs to serve in active war zones. In the continuing AIN series intended to recognize those in our community who defend the way of life we continue to enjoy back home, senior editor David A. Lombardo spoke with Duncan Aviation airframe mechanic Derrick Buggi about his recent service in the Mid East. This is Buggi’s story.
The U.S. Air Force’s much delayed and troubled attempts to procure a new-generation tanker hit an embarrassing snag in November, when the evaluating office inadvertently sent out technical assessments of each proposal to the opposing bidders. The documents in question were the Integrated Fleet Aerial Refueling Assessments (IFARA) that model tanker operations in various scenarios.
The UK is to cut its planned acquisition of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) by up to two-thirds, switch versions and delay introduction of the aircraft.
The first Airbus A330 future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made its first flight after conversion on September 13. Three days later, the British legislature published a report that heavily criticized the $16 billion-plus procurement of the RAF’s new tankers via a private finance initiative (PFI).
Earlier this month Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) began flight trials of the single Boeing 767-200ER it has converted to multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) configuration for the Columbian air force (Fuerza Aérea Colombiana). During the initial 3.5-hour post-conversion flight, the MMTT successfully cleared the full flight envelope, and subsequently engaged in refueling trials with an IAI Kfir C10 fighter.
Last week, Vince Cable, the business secretary in the new British government, heavily criticized the supply of 14 A330MRTTs to the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a private finance initiative (PFI). He told The Sunday Times that the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) is “a massively expensive and unnecessary commitment.”
In the U.S. Air Force KC-X competition size matters, but not much else, according to a Boeing briefing here. The company refused to discuss how its NewGen Tanker could be “combat ready” when substantial development work must be done. Citing competitive reasons, Boeing gave no technical details on the new cockpit, the new refueling boom, or even which version of the 767 it was based on.