The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has conducted a successful first test flight of its Airbus KC-30A multirole tanker transport aircraft, Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare has said.

During the test flight, which was carried out by an eight-personnel team at RAAF Base Amberley, the aircraft’s systems and crew operating procedures were checked.

The A39-002 KC-30A, based on the A330-200 aircraft, is a dual-role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft.

Clare said, “It’s an Airbus aeroplane which has been converted into a flying petrol station, which will allow our Hornets, Super Hornets, C-17s and Wedgetail to be refuelled in the air.”

The aircraft will undergo an intensive operational test and evaluation flying programme, with the initial operational capability expected to take place in late 2012.

The air force has received two KC-30As with additional deliveries of a further two tankers slated for later this year.