The Airbus Military A330 MRTT has successfully passed fuel to receiver aircraft using the Fuselage Refueling Unit (FRU) for the first time, meaning that all of the aircraft's refueling systems have now been demonstrated.In a three hour 10 min sortie from Getafe near Madrid on 21st January, the Future Strategic Transport Aircraft (FSTA) variant for the UK Royal Air Force conducted a series of "wet contacts" with two F-18 fighters of the Spanish Air Force.
Contacts were successfully performed with both fighters at an altitude of around 15,000ft and at speeds from 250kt to 325kt.
The FRU is a hose and drogue similar to those fitted under the wings, but with a higher rate of fuel transfer, and which is also developed and supplied by Cobham of the UK.
The full complement of refueling systems which can equip the A330 MRTT, and which have now all been demonstrated, consists of: the FRU, the underwing hose-and-drogue, and the Airbus Military Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), plus the Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) used to receive fuel from another tanker.
Head of Airbus Military Derivatives Antonio Caramazana said: "This demonstration of the last of the A330 MRTT's refueling systems clearly positions it as the most capable, flexible and proven transport/tanker available to the world's air forces today. We now look forward to conducting the first contacts with Royal Air Force fighters in the coming months."