The Indian Air Force (IAF) will decide on a new multi-role tanker transport by year-end. Bids for six aircraft from Airbus Military for the A330MRTT and from Ilyushin for the Il-78MK are now being compared, Airbus Military market development vice president Ian Elliott told AIN in Delhi this week. The new in-flight refuelers will augment the existing fleet of six Il-78s, which has been in service for over half a decade at Agra airbase.
Airbus A330 MRTT
Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.
Eyeing regional requirements, including here in Singapore, Airbus Military has brought an A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) to the show. It is one of 14 destined for the UK Royal Air Force’s future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) fleet. A total of 28 MRTTs have been ordered by four countries.
Airbus Military has embarked on a major program to assist the Indonesian aerospace industry expand its capabilities and to put the plane-maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI - Indonesian Aerospace) back on its feet after suffering heavy losses accumulated after the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990s. In October the two companies signed a teaming agreement defining the initiatives of the initial 18-month phase of the recovery plan, following a strategic collaboration agreement signed last July.
The refurbishment of a government Airbus A330-200 (used mainly for the president) ran €33.2 million (about $46 million) over budget, according to a recent report from the “Cour des comptes,” the French equivalent of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Replacement of the engines and interior upgrades are listed as the primary reasons for the cost overrun.
Airbus Military wants to boost revenue derived from support services from the current 10 to 15 percent of the total to between 30 and 40 percent during the next five years. It is offering to the customers that are buying the A330 tanker and the A400M airlifter a menu of options that have been developed from training and maintenance contracts for the CN235 and C295 military transport aircraft.
Airbus and Boeing officials are expecting a call from the Pentagon at 4:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time this afternoon to inform them which company has won the $35 billion contract for the new U.S. Air Force KC-X tanker. The Pentagon will then make a public announcement about the award at 5:10 p.m. EST, Airbus and Boeing spokespeople told AIN.
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.
Airbus has decided to raise the production rate for its A330 family to 10 aircraft a month starting in the second quarter of 2013, the company announced today. The company now builds eight A330s a month and plans to first increase the rate to nine early next year before reaching double digits in 2013.
EADS has decided to bid the A330MRTT for the U.S. Air Force KC-X requirement again, this time without a major North American partner. Ralph Crosby, chairman of EADS North America, said that the Pentagon had recognized EADS North America as a qualified prime contractor. Leaving Boeing as the sole-source bidder “harms the U.S. taxpayer,” Crosby added.