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RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft successfully tested with F-35A.

| 2015
World Aviation Defense & Security News - Australia
RAAF KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft successfully tested with F-35A
The Royal Australian Force is testing the capability of its Boeing KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) to refuel the various platforms currently in service. For a period of one month, one of the Australian MRTTs flew sorties to validate the ability to refuel a USAF F-35A aircraft.
RAAF KC-30A tested with F35 640 001A RAAF KC-30A MRTT successfully refuels a F-35A Lightning II fighter aircraft
The MRTT operated from Edwards Air Force Base in California, between 23 September and 26 October. It flew a total of 12 sorties refuelling a Lockheed Martin F-35A JSF aircraft, using the Advanced Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) mounted on its tail. The Australian crew completed a total of 479 “dry” and 24 “wet” contacts with the refueling receptacle of the JSF, and transferred 95 tonnes of fuel.

Apart from the ARBS, the KC-30A is equipped with hose-and-drogue refuelling pods, which are compatible with the Boeing Hornets, Super Hornet and Growlers in service with RAAF. A RAAF flight team from the Aircraft Research and Development Unit was integrated within the USAF Test Centre, to work on a dynamic test programme. In the near future, the Australian KC-30s will continue their flight trials to include the Boeing C-17A Globemaster and the P-8A Poseidon.

Australia has already acquired five KC-30A MRTTs and two more will be added to its force in 2018. RAAF has planned the acquisition of 75 F-35A, in order to replace the F/A-18A/B Hornets.

A KC-30A can carry over 100 tonnes of fuel and remain 1,800 kilometres from its base, with 50 tonnes of fuel available for offload, for four hours. The type is already proving its capabilities in the Middle East, in support of Australian and Coalition air forces operating against the Islamic State.



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