Nine-year-old MRTT fleet in need of comms upgrade/retrofit

Airbus has been selected by the Defence to develop a communications and mission system modernisation upgrade for the Royal Australian Air Force’s A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) fleet.

FILE PHOTO (2015): A KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) extends its boom to connect to another KC-30A MRTT. ADF file photo.

The scope of work, which will meet the RAAF’s interoperability needs under their new operational requirements, will mainly cover a retrofit package, which includes new and additional communications capabilities and enhanced mission systems, bringing it up to the latest enhanced A330 MRTT standard. [CONTACT wonders, though, why the contract is to ‘develop an upgrade’, if the upgrade is to bring the fleet up to the latest [existing] enhanced A330 MRTT standard? Can anyone explain?]

The Airbus press release says phase 1 will see Airbus carry out the design and systems development and integration ahead of the critical design review maturity gate and phase 2 will see Airbus install and deliver a prototype for use in the certification and qualification process, ahead of finalising and supplying the modification kits for entire fleet.

Subsequent retrofit to the remainder of the fleet will be under RAAF responsibility.

In addition, Airbus will provide the necessary data packs and support to ensure this upgrade features in the existing RAAF A330 MRTT full-flight simulator, the integrated procedures trainer and the remote air refuelling operator console part-task trainer.

The objective of the upgrade is to provide an affordable solution which brings the RAAF KC-30A fleet up to Airbus’ world-class quality and capability standards and meets the latest interoperability requirements for the Australian Defence Force and its allies.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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