An Airbus A400M has successfully refueled six Spanish Air Force F-18 fighters in a single mission as part of an Air-to-Air Refueling (AAR) human factors certification flight.
The 13 December mission featured a complex series of AAR scenarios such as changes of area, receivers with unknown priorities, and unexpected increases in numbers of receivers. Through multiple contacts the six aircraft simulated a fleet of eight.
The F-18s included the first Spanish operational fighters to be refueled by the A400M and belonged to the Spanish Air Force Test Centre (CLAEX) and the 12th Operational Wing based at Torrejón.
A total of 11.4 tonnes of fuel was dispensed using both the underwing pods and the centre hose refueling unit. Certification authorities on board confirmed good results and the flight validated the A400M two-crew cockpit concept for tanker missions.
The A400M is the most advanced, proven and certified airlifter available, combining 21st century state-of-the-art technologies to fulfill the current and upcoming Armed Forces’ needs.
The A400M combines the capability to carry strategic loads with the ability to deliver even into tactical locations with small and unprepared airstrips. In addition, it acts as a frontline-tanker for other aircraft.
Airbus is a global leader in the defense sector, the largest defense supplier in Europe, and among the top 10 defense companies worldwide.
Airbus manufactures tactical and strategic airlifters, multi-role aerial tankers and advanced combat aircraft. Together, the A400M, C295, CN235, A330 MRTT and Eurofighter Typhoon make up a world-class product line operated by air forces worldwide.
In addition to designing, developing and manufacturing military aircraft, Airbus offers a broad range of services to fully support its customers.
Airbus is also the no. 3 company worldwide in secure communication platforms, delivering agile, innovative, data-driven digital services for defense and cyber security applications.