2 x 72,000 lbs. ea.
192 ft. 11 in.
197 ft. 10 in.
The A330 MRTT – Multi Role Tanker Transport is a variant of the Airbus A330. It is available with a centerline refueling boom and a pair of hose and drogue pods from its wings. The refueling systems are operated from the aircraft flight deck. They are compatible with all NATO aircraft. The A330 MRTT is itself capable of being refueled while in flight. Maximum fuel transfer rate is 1,200 gallons per minute. Hose and drogue refueling from beneath each wing can be done simultaneously with the centerline refueling boom system at a rate of 420 gallons per minute each.
In addition to air to air refueling, the A330 MRTT can seat up to 300 troops, or handle 99,000 lbs. of equipment while operating as a cargo hauler. It can also carry up to 130 stretchers for medical transport.
In 2011 a total of fourteen A330 MRTT aircraft were converted into air tankers for the British RAF. The air tankers are named “Voyager”.
As of July 2019 three Republic of Singapore’s Air Force A330 MRTT aircraft became operational. In addition to air-to-air refueling, their missions include troop, cargo and medical transport.
To date a total some 39 Airbus A330 MRTT tanker aircraft have been produced, with another 60 on order by Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The USAF ordered 179 A330 MRTT air tankers, but the order was canceled by the U.S. government and then given to Boeing.
We received the following email from Bill Dell: “When the U.S.A.F. first contracted for their new air tanker, I was working for Northrop Grumman Corp. (NGC). They were the prime contractor who were to team with Airbus; NGC supplying the fuel tank and boom system, Airbus supplying their A330 MRTT airframes. Corporate Facilities had a location planned to do all the work; Mobile, AL airport that during WWII times was a large aircraft building location. NGC had their own team of Facilities people drawn primarily from the division I was with at the time based in El Segundo, California, U.S.A.
A company named Austin had been named as the designers and builders of the A330 MRTT facility that was to be adjacent to NGC’s. On another project at El Segundo, I worked with an Austin engineer who was just waiting for the final funding to go to AL and start.
The Congressional and Senate reps who were in Boeing’s pocket plus all the Unions working at Boeing (and the reps THEY had in their pockets) got the award to NGC/Airbus for the A330 MRTT overturned, screaming the airplane was built in a foreign country and that was against U.S. policy. At the same time, parts and assemblies of multiple airplanes built under program contracts awarded to Lockheed and Boeing were being supplied by foreign companies.
The USAF team evaluating the tanker submittals documented the superiority of the NGC and A330 MRTT proposal. NGC and Airbus had a prototype A330 MRTT ready to test as soon as funding was appropriated.
I will retain for “posterity” the poster passed out to NGC employees at El Segundo after that first USAF decision; an artist’s rendering of the A330 MRTT with block lettering “KC-45 Our Next Tanker.”
Bill, thank you very much for telling us about your experiences with the A330 MRTT.