The flying display at Farnborough includes a very special Airbus aircraft that is helping to qualify a new-generation aerial refuelling system for the A330-200 Multi-role Tanker Aircraft (MRTT).
This modified A310 testbed carries the fly-by-wire Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), which is being developed by Airbus parent company EADS to refuel military aircraft capable of being “topped off” while in flight.
The A310 has performed more than 100 test flights to date with the ARBS, which has a length of 17 metres when fully extended and can transfer up to 4,540 litres of fuel per minute.
A330-200 MRTTs have been ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force, the U.K. Royal Air Force, Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates. The aircraft also is being offered for the U.S. Air Force’s new tanker aircraft.