Royal Australian Air Force conducts first flight for new air tanker

Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that A39-002 KC-30A Mul­ti-Role Tanker Trans­port has com­plet­ed its first flight in RAAF ser­vice.

The air­craft took off from RAAF Base Amber­ley at about 10.40am today for a 2 hours and 45 min­utes long flight over Roma and the Sun­shine Coast, before return­ing to RAAF Base Amber­ley.

Dur­ing the flight the eight per­son­nel on board con­duct­ed a check of the aircraft’s sys­tems and crew oper­at­ing pro­ce­dures.

Mr Clare said this flight was the next step towards the new air tanker enter­ing ser­vice with the RAAF.

“This is the most advanced tanker air­craft in the world. It’s an impor­tant piece of equip­ment for our Air Force,” Mr Clare said.

“It’s an Air­bus aero­plane which has been con­vert­ed into a fly­ing petrol sta­tion, which will allow our Hor­nets, Super Hor­nets, C‑17s and Wed­getail to be refu­elled in the air.

“It can car­ry more than 100 tonnes of fuel, and can itself be refu­elled by anoth­er tanker mid-flight.

“This means these planes can fly fur­ther with­out hav­ing to return to base, mak­ing them more effec­tive.”

Mr Clare said the air­craft is oper­at­ed by Air Force’s No. 33 Squadron from RAAF Amber­ley.

“This test flight was con­duct­ed to make sure they could work the air­craft safe­ly and effec­tive­ly,” Mr Clare said.

Per­son­nel will now begin an inten­sive oper­a­tional test and eval­u­a­tion fly­ing pro­gram for the air­craft. Ini­tial oper­a­tional capa­bil­i­ty is expect­ed in late 2012.

Air Force received two KC-30As dur­ing June 2011, with anoth­er two due to be hand­ed over by the end of the year.

Qan­tas Defence Ser­vices is cur­rent­ly con­vert­ing the final A330-200 air­craft into a KC-30A tanker at its Bris­bane Air­port facil­i­ty, for deliv­ery in 2012.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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