The Australian government has set its sights at up to four new big airlifters for the Royal Australian Air Force. Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced this week that the RAAF will get two more Airbus KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker/Transport (MRTT) aircraft and one or two Boeing C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters. He choose a fun place to make his announcement: on board one of the RAAF’s KC-30s (an A330MRTT) flying over the Northern Territory to journalists from the big media conglomerate News Corp Australia.
The RAAF was the launch customer of the Airbus A330 MRTT, with currently five operating with No. 33 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley near Brisbane on the Australian east coast. The base is also home to the RAAF’s current six C-17As, which fly with No. 36 Squadron. As the first Boeing team already finished its last work on the final C-17 to come from the production line in Long Beach, Prime Minister Abbott is eager to get his hands on probably two of the 10 aircraft the American company is producing on its own dime with future sales in mind.
The Globemaster is large enough to transport an M1A1 Abrams tank, a Black Hawk, a Seahawk or a Chinook helicopter, three Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters or five Bushmaster infantry vehicles. The KC-30A has a fuel capacity of more than 100 tonnes, and can remain about 1100 miles (1800 km) from its home base with 50 tonnes of fuel available to offload for up to four hours. In its transport role, the KC-30A will be capable of carrying 270 passengers, comes with under-floor cargo compartments and will be able to accommodate 74,957 lbs (34,000 kgs) of cargo on pallets and in containers.
The RAAF’s airlift stars were recently much engaged in Operation Bring Them Home, the airbridge for the victims of the Russian/Ukrainian Pro-Russian Separatists shoot down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information of the RAAF