The Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft have achieved final operational capability (FOC), enabling the service to refuel a range of aircraft.
The five KC-30A MRTT aircraft based at RAAF Base Amberley are now fully operational and compatible with a wide range of Australian and international aircraft.
According to RAAF chief air marshal Leo Davies, the FOC for KC-30A MRTT is a critical component of the service's aviation capability.
Davies said: “It has been transporting passengers and equipment, and refuelling with its ‘hose and drogue’ technology for some time.
“The achievement of FOC signifies that our boom refuelling capability is now also fully operational, and compatible with a wide range of Australian and international aircraft.”
The aircraft, which was involved in Operation Okra in Iraq, has already offloaded more than 74 million pounds of fuel to coalition aircraft, including Australia’s F/A-18A Hornet and E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.
Australian Minister for Defence Marise Payne said: “Just one KC-30A can support the deployment of four fighter aircraft over 5,000km, with 50 personnel and 12t of equipment.
"It is an extremely versatile aircraft that is suited to the long-ranges of the Australian continent.”
The RAAF and Airbus Defence and Space have partnered to co-develop an automatic air-to-air refuelling capability for the KC-30A’s boom.
The automation of boom refuelling is expected to reduce potential risk by minimising operator workload, and increases operational efficiency by reducing the time for each contact, Airbus stated.
Image: RAAF KC-30A refuelling control station. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Bruch.