The Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport being built for Australia and several other US allies, has received its military certification, EADS North America has announced. As part of the certification process, one million pounds of fuel were transferred during more than 1,300 contacts with various combat aircraft, using the MRTT’s aerial refueling boom and hose-and-drogue systems, according to the company. The A330 MRTT has 95 percent commonality with the KC-45 tanker that the company is offering the US Air Force in the KC-X tanker competition. MRTT certification “is important evidence,” said Ralph Crosby, EADS North America chairman, that the KC-45 “is real and ready now.” The KC-45 is pitted against Boeing’s 767-based NewGen Tanker for the KC-X contract, which the Air Force expects to award later this fall. Around the same time, Australia is scheduled to take delivery of its first two A330 MRTTs.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.