Airbus Military featured its A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) at this week’s Dubai Airshow, underscoring the importance of this aircraft to its two Middle East operators, as well as for the region’s aerial refuelling and airlift requirements.
To date, Airbus Military has delivered all three aircraft ordered by the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence – including the A330 MRTT displayed at Dubai World Central – as well as the initial batch of three for the Royal Saudi Air Force, which has six total tanker/transports on order.
The UAE – which received its latest A330 MRTT this summer – is engaged in training and qualification with receiver aircraft, including the F-16 Block 50 and Mirage 2000 fighters.
Underscoring the A330 MRTT’s mission flexibility, UAE aircraft are equipped with two underwing hose and drogue refuelling pods, the under-fuselage centreline fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refuelling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) that enables it to be refuelled from another tanker.
Saudi Arabia’s Royal Saudi Air Force formally has accepted the first three of six A330 MRTTs ordered by this country, and utilised the aircraft to deploy eight Tornado and Typhoon fighters to the UK for Exercise Green Shield. They have the same refuelling systems at the UAE A330 MRTTs.
Derived from Airbus’ successful A330 widebody twin-engine commercial airliner, the A330 MRTT is the world’s most advanced air-to-air tanker and also offers strategic transport airlift capacity in addition to its refuelling capabilities. To date, 17 A330 MRTTs are in service with four customers – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Australia and the UK.