A Royal Australian Air Force A330 multirole tanker transport (MRTT) aircraft has demonstrated the first fuel transfers with its all-digital hose and drogue system to a Nato F/A-18 aircraft.

During the contacts, the A330 MRTT transferred 9,200lb of fuel to the Nato fighter jet using its left and right under-wing pods.

The A330 MRTT’s 905E refuelling pods can deliver up to 420gal of fuel a minute and the 90ft-long hoses can accommodate probe-equipped military receiver aircraft at refuelling speed up to 325kt.

The refuelling process is controlled from a remote aerial refuelling operator (RARO) station on the flight deck.

The demonstration follows the recent aerial refuelling exercise using its advanced aerial refuelling boom system (ARBS), testing both refuelling systems in flight.

The mix of boom and pod refuelling technologies enable the MRTT to transfer fuel to all types of receiver aircraft during a single mission without reconfiguring and the wing-mounted pods allow for simultaneous multipoint refuelling.

The RAAF A330 MRTT is the first of the five Australian aircraft on order that will be delivered in mid-2010.