KC-30 MRTT refuels fighters through boom, drogues

EADS released these photos of the KC-30 MRTT refueling fighters. The company previously released photos of refueling as viewed through the 3D controller’s panel video screen. The MRTT has now “passed gas” (as we like to say, much to the consternation of the more straight-laced crowd) through the new flying boom from the MRTT.

Source: EADS North America

These delayed tests have been the target of much criticism from Boeing supporters, who pointed out that EADS has been delayed in meeting milestones for the Royal Australian Air Force deliveries, which are now 18 months late. About six months of the delay was due to customer change-order requests.

11 Comments on “KC-30 MRTT refuels fighters through boom, drogues

  1. As you fairly identify late it certainly is, but one wonders how the RAAF would be reacting if it suffered in the manner the Italian & Japanese AF’s have with Boeings 767 & it’s combination of protracted performance issues & delays.

  2. Nice reprint of EADS propaganda, Mr. Hamilton. For complete and fair disclosure, can you please publish your business connections to EADS, Airbus, and other entities (such as organizations in Alabama with an interest in the tanker contest) so you can judge. You are straightforward about your holdings in Boeing, but what about EADS/Airbus connections?

  3. So a post contains:
    1. Press release photos of an actual milestone in a program.
    2. Commentary describing photos with a mention of program delays that are probably NOT part of the release are also presented.

    Hmmmm…
    Only in a bizarre Boeing-Uber-Alles alternative universe would this post merit snarky near-accusations (versus less-cowardly, though no less infantile, direct accusation) of conflict of interest.

  4. Phil,

    In the interest of fairness, much of the delays with the Italian and Japanese tankers was the insistance of the respective governments for FAA certifications as well as the centerline boom problems. These and other issues have been addressed. Its naive to think that either the KC-30 or KC-767/777 programs will not run into problems.
    I don’t think EADS has been as open about its development issues as Boeing has been.
    And the 767 being offered to the US Air Force will benefit from the previous designs “growing pains”.
    In any case, Boeing is going to win this third, and hopefully, final round.

    • “I don’t think EADS has been as open about its development issues as Boeing has been.”
      you mean “Boeing” as in “Boeing Commercial Airplanes” who haven’t written
      an unambiguous press release in more than 3 years?
      Boeings openness currently is a “pull” service and
      requirering rather heavy tools at that.

    • Sal, I’m not sure that if we are to believe some of the comments made by IAF top brass, several of whom have been adversly vocal about Boeings tanker programe and the capabilities of the airframe if true Boeing could be selling a pup.

      Your assumption that Boeing will win this third round contest is probably quite correct and to some large degree this it will be on the back of patriotisem and retaining a totally home grown tanker that given the US airframe volume is understandable, but its probably that it will not not represent the best available option.

      Uwe, is also right to comment that EADS has not been totally frank about its tanker progress but no more so than Boeing has been with its own over a longer period.

  5. No, I meant Boeing IDS… The development issues have been well publicized, as you are well aware of.
    How long did it take EADS to release that picture of the MRTT in flight with the F-16?
    This debate between those of us advocating a Boeing win versus those supporting a KC-30 solution, while fun, is immaterial in the great scheme of things.
    I am convinced that there is *no way* the Obama Administration will award this to a foreign backed entity, while a domestic manufacturer is offering a platform that is as good, and in some ways offers advantage, over its European competition.
    I still maintain, that had Northrup actually licensed and built the K-30 themselves, there would be little controversy in the United States on this issue.
    As it is now, I do not see how the Air Force can repeat the mistakes of last year and award this to anyone other then Boeing.

    • . “well publicized issues”
      The for quite some time ongoing problems with
      “added parts” flutter (limitting flight envelope?)
      has been masked by “added certification delays” 😉

      “Release pics of RAAF MRTT330 in flight with the F-16 ?”
      My guess is less than 14 days.
      Afaik all the initial testing was done on MRTT310
      leading to rather fruitless discussions elsewhere
      ( KC135TopBoom v. everybodyelse on Airliners.net ).
      Airbus seems to do “qualification flights” for the customer
      and not “testing and developement flights” as they see
      the tanker hardware as being already tested and mature.

      “Boeing win?”
      My guess too. On purely political reasoning alone.
      Various forms of corruption are deep set and very
      widespread in the US. Which in itself would not be
      a remarkable issue if not coupled with moral
      holier than though finger pointing to all other
      nations on this ball with an endless but limited
      surface.

      Thus, if one is set on buying local one should not
      emmit an international RFP. It is as simple as
      that.

  6. “Thus, if one is set on buying local one should not
    emmit an international RFP. It is as simple as
    that.”

    That is about the only thing we agree on…

    “Afaik all the initial testing was done on MRTT310
    leading to rather fruitless discussions elsewhere
    ( KC135TopBoom v. everybodyelse on Airliners.net ).
    Airbus seems to do “qualification flights” for the customer
    and not “testing and developement flights” as they see
    the tanker hardware as being already tested and mature.”

    The airframes can a do effect the performance of said booms and hose/drone units. The RAAF might have some issue with some of your statements. 🙂

    Either way, its been good debating this particular issue with you Uve . This Thanksgiving day you can be thankful that the MRTT has won so many smaller air forces, while those in my “camp” can rest better knowing that Boeing will continue to build world-class tankers and other derivatives well into the 21st century as the did in the 20th century.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Uve.

  7. “Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Uve.”

    Thank your very much
    and best wishes in return to you, your family..

    uwe

  8. Airbus A400M First Flight due 2nd Week of December
    ————————————————————

    “The ground tests of the first A400M are progressing satisfactorily… This allows us to anticipate maiden flight in the week 50, weather permitting,” — Domingo Urena, Airbus.

    Reuters, November 27, 2009

    Airbus Military unveiled the timing of the first flight of its long-delayed A400M military airlifter on Friday a week after successfully running the transporter’s four engines for the first time.

    The aircraft is expected to take to the air in the week beginning December 7, the head of the Airbus unit, Domingo Urena, said in a letter dated Friday.

    “The ground tests of the first A400M are progressing satisfactorily at our facility. This allows us to anticipate a first flight in the week 50, weather permitting,” Urena said.

    The EUR20 billion euro (USD$29.9 billion) A400M is Europe’s biggest ever defence contract, and the flight will be keenly awaited by the seven nations buying the plane: Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey.

    The A400M is already delayed by three to four years, and Airbus is pressing for concessions on the terms of the deal, saying it faces unaffordable losses in delivering the 180 aircraft ordered by the NATO countries.

    Germany is leading pressure for Airbus to stick to the terms.

    Government officials are due to meet again next week to discuss the way ahead for the A400M.

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