Two UAE Air Force (UAE AF) primary aircraft-types have successfully completed receiver qualification trials conducted by Airbus Military, which are scheduled to refuel from the three A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft currently on order.
The compatibility of the new generation A330 MRTT with UAE AF’s Mirage 2000 and F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcon fighters was fully demonstrated in a series of extensive flight tests in Abu Dhabi.
The aircraft, operating from Al Dhafra airbase, performed air-to-air refuelling at speeds throughout the refuelling flight envelope, at a range of altitudes, and in turns, climbs and descents as well as level flight.
The company has already qualified other versions of the F-16 with the A330, but the trials added the Block 60 variant featuring large conformal fuel tanks on the fuselage and the F-16 was refuelled using the A330 MRTT’s Airbus Refuelling Boom System (ARBS).
The Mirage 2000 was tested in two different configurations including the twin-seat version carrying two drop-tanks and two air-to-air missiles, and the single-seat variant carrying six missiles and a centreline drop-tank.
The A330 MRTT used its two Cobham 905E underwing refuelling pods to refuel the Mirage 2000, which also included demonstrations of simultaneous refuelling of two fighter aircraft.
The UAE pilots are currently undergoing crew training in Spain and the first two A330 MRTTs, including the one that participated in the trials, are scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2012 as part of the contract signed with EADS in February 2008.
Developed from the civilian Airbus A330-200, the A330 MRTT is designed as a dual-role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft.
Powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines, the A330 is the only aircraft able to simultaneously perform three different types of missions including aerial refuelling, passenger or freight transport, and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions.
Image: A UAE Air Force Mirage 2000 Fighter refuelling from the A330 MRTT. Photo: Airbus Military.