The Airbus Military A330 multirole tanker transport (MRTT) has completed the first series of dry contacts with the Spanish Air Force F/A-18A+ fighter in the flight test phase.
The tanker uses new-generation Cobham 905E hose and drogue refuelling pods controlled by a fuel operator console in the cockpit that can transfer up to 1,600l a minute through a 90ft hose.
The MRTT was able to extend and contract the hose properly and was stable before and during contact with the Spanish fighter.
The next phases will involve more contacts with the new hose and refuelling pod and the advanced aerial refuelling boom system, and refuelling a range of receivers such as French, Portuguese, and Spanish small and large receiver aircraft.
The US Air Force selected this aircraft in 2008 to replace its tanker fleet aircraft. It was also chosen by air forces of Australia, the UK, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.