A330-200 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) is an aerial refuelling tanker aircraft based on the civilian Airbus A330. The A330 MRTT has been ordered by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Air Force (RAF), United Arab Emirates Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force. The EADS/Northrop Grumman KC-45 was a version of the A330 MRTT proposed for the United States Air Force.

Design and development

The Airbus A330 MRTT is a military derivative of the A330-200 airliner. It is designed as a dual-role air-to-air refuelling and transport aircraft. For air-to-air refuelling missions the A330 MRTT can be equipped with a combination of any of the following systems:
  • Airbus Military Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) for receptacle-equipped receiver aircraft.
Refuelling Boom System (ARBS)
  • Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe-equipped receiver aircraft.
Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe
  • Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for probe-equipped receiver aircraft
Cobham 805E Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU) for probe
  • Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) for self in-flight refuelling.
Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI)

The A330 MRTT has a maximum fuel capacity of 111,000 kg (245,000 lb) without the use of additional fuel tanks, which leaves space for the carriage of 45,000 kg (99,000 lb) of additional cargo.

The A330 MRTT’s wing has common structure with the four-engine A340-200/-300 with reinforced mounting locations and provision for fuel piping for the A340’s outboard engines. The A330 MRTT’s wing therefore requires little modification for use of these hardpoints for the wing refuelling pods.

kc-x-image01Size comparison 

The A330 MRTT cabin can be modified to carry up to 380 passengers in a single class configuration, allowing a complete range of configurations from maximised troop transport to complex customisation suitable for VIP and guest missions. Available configurations include 300 passengers in a single class and 266 passengers in two classes.

A330 MRTT Upper Deck cargo versiona330-mrtt-04-lower-deck-740x555A330 MRTT Lower deck MRTT Upper Deck cargo version showing pallets A330 MRTT Upper Deck cargo version showing pallets MRTT Upper Deck cargo version showing pallets and seating KC-30The RAAF has gone for a 2 x 4 x 2 seating arrangement in the “tourist” section and 2 x 3 x 2 in the “business” section of the MRTT (Multi Role Tanker Transport). ( MRTT Upper Deck seating configuration – single class MRTT Upper Deck seatingA330 MRTT Upper Deck seating configuration – two class

The A330 MRTT can also be configured to perform Medical Evacuation (Medevac) missions; up to 130 standard stretchers can be carried. The main deck cargo configuration allows carriage of standard commercial containers and pallets, military, ISO and NATO pallets (including seats) and containers, and military equipment and other large items which are loaded through a cargo door. Like the A330-200, the A330 MRTT includes two lower deck cargo compartments (forward and aft) and a bulk area capability. The cargo hold has been modified to be able to transport up to 8 military pallets in addition to civilian Unit Load Device (ULD).

An optional crew rest compartment (CRC), located in the forward cabin can be installed for a spare crew to increase time available for a mission. The passenger cabin of the A330 MRTT can be provided with a set of removable airstairs to enable embarkation and disembarkation when airbridges or ground support equipment are not available.

Standard commercial A330-200s are delivered from Airbus Final Assembly Line in Toulouse (France) to Airbus Military Conversion Centre in Getafe, Spain for fitting of refuelling systems and military avionics. The tanker was certified by Spanish authorities in October 2010. It was first delivered to Australia on 1 June 2011. Qantas Defence Services converted the remaining four A330-200s at its Brisbane Airport facility on behalf of EADS for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Operational history

The A330 MRTT has been ordered by Australia, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Australia was the launch customer for the A330 MRTT.


Designated as KC-30A, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 MRTTs are equipped with both an Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and two Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods.
Refuelling Boom System (ARBS)Cobham 905E under-wing refuelling pods for probe

The aircraft are powered by two General Electric CF6-80E engines.Australia initially arranged to procure four aircraft with an option to obtain a fifth; this option for a fifth aircraft was exercised to allow for two simultaneous deployments of two aircraft, the fifth being for contingency coverage. Australian KC-30A are operated by No. 33 Squadron RAAF based at RAAF Base Amberley. Australia has designated the aircraft KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport. Australia’s aircraft are configured for 270 passengers plus cargo.

In 2005, the RAAF expected that deliveries would begin in late 2008 and be completed in 2010. Deliveries fell two years behind schedule, in part because of delays in the boom’s development. On 30 May 2011, KC-30A A39-003, the third converted A330, arrived at RAAF Base Amberley and was formally handed over on 1 June 2011. The second A330 conversion, A39-002 was ferried to RAAF Amberley on 18 June 2011 and handed over to the RAAF on 22 June 2011. In June 2010, Qantas announced receipt of the fourth aircraft at its Brisbane facilities for an anticipated 10-month conversion. On 3 December 2012, the final fifth KC-30A was delivered to the RAAF.

In July 2013, it was reported there were ongoing delays with preparing the KC-30A for full entry into service due to problems with the refuelling systems, including the hose-and-drogue system passing too much fuel.

In August 2013, the KC-30A made its debut as a VIP transport, ferrying Prime Minister Rudd and an entourage to Al Minhad Air Base, United Arab Emirates. In August 2014, Defence Minister David Johnston announced the intention to purchase two additional KC-30As with one in VIP configuration for transport of the Prime Minister.

On 22 September 2014, the RAAF deployed an Air Task Group to a staging base at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates, as part of a coalition to combat Islamic State forces in Iraq.

The Air Refueller Operator onboard the RAAF KC-30A provides two RAAF F/A @airheadsfly.comA RAAF F/A-18F “caught” alongside the RAAF KC-30 (Image © SGT Mick Davis / 1st JPAU / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

See details of F-18 Super Hornet: HERE

The aircraft included F/A-18F Super Hornets, a KC-30A tanker transport and an E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft. The KC-30 started operations just days after arriving in the UAE by aerial refueling US and other coalition aircraft over Iraq. On 6 October 2014, the RAAF started their first combat missions over Iraq with two Super Hornets supported by the KC-30 tanker.

A Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail carries out the first operational air-to-air refuellilng from a RAAF KC-30A operations above Iraq on 23 October 2015 (Image © CPL Ben Dempster / 28SQN AFID – AMB / Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence) @airheadsfly.comA Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A (Airbus A330 MRTT) has used its air‑to‑air refuelling boom for the first time on operations while refuelling a RAAF E-7A Wedgetail (Boeing 737) last week during a Coalition mission above Iraq, the Ministry of Defence in Canberra announced on 27 October 2015. RAAF E-7A Wedgetail (Boeing 737)

See details of RAAF E-7A Wedgetail: HERE

In July 2015, Defence Minister Kevin Andrews announced the order of two additional KC-30s, to be delivered in 2018. The new tankers will be based on A330-200 airliners that were previously operated by Qantas on lease from CIT Aerospace, and will be the first KC-30As to be converted from airframes that have already seen civilian service.


An Airbus A330-200 converted by Airbus Military for air-refuelling duties.
Australian designation for an A330 MRTT with two under-wing refuelling pods and an Aerial Refuelling Boom System.
United States Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT with two under-wing refuelling pods and an Aerial Refuelling Boom System, order cancelled.
Voyager KC2
Royal Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT with two Cobham 905 under-wing pods, primarily used for refuelling fast jets.
Voyager KC3
Royal Air Force designation for an A330 MRTT with two under-wing pods and a “Cobham Fuselage Refuelling Unit (FRU)” for a centreline refuelling capability, primarily used for refuelling large aircraft.
A330 MRTT cockpit


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