The Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has announced that the KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft has been removed from the Projects of Concern list, following acceptance of the boom capability.
AIR 5402 had been managed as a Project of Concern since February 2010 due to delays in delivery attributed to Airbus Defence and Space, Defence stated.
But the DMO’s acting chief executive officer Harry Dunstall said that following an extensive development and testing program, the issues previously identified with the introduction of the Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) have been resolved and Defence has formally accepted the capability.
“Resolution of this issue completes the remediation of all activities identified in the project’s remediation plan, and accordingly it has been removed from the list,” Dunstall said. “Airbus Defence and Space has worked collaboratively with us to address our concerns, and I would like to recognise and thank Airbus for their efforts.”
The KC-30A has been conducting hose-and-drogue refuelling activities with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) since 2011, and is being used to great effect on current operations in the Middle East, according to Defence. Acceptance of the ARBS paves the way for the progressive introduction of the boom in-flight refuelling capability.
Airbus Defence and Space welcomed the decision to remove the MRTT from the Projects of Concern list, noting that as the launch customer the RAAF has accepted all five ordered aircraft. To date, 35 of the Airbus A330 MRTTs have been ordered overall, with 22 delivered.
“Like many high-tech, complex weapons systems, the KC-30A MRTT’s introduction to the Australian Defence Force has been a protracted evolution,” stated Kurt Rossner of Airbus Defence and Space. “However, we now have confirmation that these aircraft are regarded highly by RAAF pilots and support crews as capable, efficient and reliable aircraft, by virtue of their modern avionics, advanced performance and flight characteristics.”
The ARBS is set to undergo operational evaluation and all aircrew will have to be trained before Final Operational Capability (FOC) can be declared.