The Airbus KC-30 supplies air-to-air refueling and additional transport capacity. (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)

South Korea opts for Airbus tankers

South Korea has opted for the Airbus A330 MRTT as the future tanker aircraft for the Republic of  Korea Air Force (ROKAF). Seoul announced the decision on Tuesday, ending a close competition between Airbus, Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The ROKAF should welcome the first of four tanker aircraft in 2018.

The deal is worth an estimated 1.07 billion USD and supplies South Korea with its very own tanker dedicated aircraft. The tankers will act as flying gas stations for South Korea’s fleet of F-4, F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft, plus future F-35s.

The Airbus A330 MRTT is already in service in the UK, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, ordered by France, Singapore and Qatar, and being looked at by  Spain and a number of joint European forces.

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, based on the Boeing 767-200, is currently being developed by Boeing. The first flight with the air to air refueling boom attached took place recently, but many more tests are to take place before the KC-46 is ready to replace large numbers of KC-135s in US service.

IAI was offering a modified version of the Boeing 767. Colombia and Brazil in the past chose this Israeli option.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Flying gas station. (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)