The United Arab Emirates Air Force and Air Defence (UAE AF&AD) received its third of three Airbus A330 MRTT. The multi-role tanker/transport aircraft landed at Al-Ain airbase in the beginning of August, 2013.
The handover of the last UAE aircraft brings the total number of A330 MRTTs in worldwide active military service to 17. The Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force fly the Airbus tanker as well.
The A330 MRTT is in fact a normal A330 commercial airliner converted by Airbus at its Getafe plant near Madrid.
The UAE Air Force and Air Defence will use the A330 MRTTs mainly for in-flight refueling of its F-16E/F Block 60 and Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft. Airbus already trained the first five A330 MRTT crews, with five more completing their education in early 2014.
In UAE AF&AD service the A330 MRTT is equipped with two underwing refueling pods, the fly-by-wire Airbus Military Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS), and a Universal Aerial Refueling Receptacle Slipway Installation (UARRSI) enabling it to be refueled from another tanker. It is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and has 256 passenger seats.
The A330 MRTT is currently the most modern strategic tanker/transport type in the world’s military service, and will later get competition of the Boeing KC-46. The Airbus has a capacity of 111 tonnes / 245,000 lb of basic fuel, which it provides from its own fuel tanks. So, no additional fuel tank is needed.
As a transporter the A330 can carry 300 troops or a payload of up to 45 tonnes / 99,000 lb. It can also be converted to accommodate up to 130 stretchers in a medevac role.
Airbus has another 11 A330 MRTTs on order.
Source: Airbus Military