An Australian A330 MRTT, also known as KC-30.

Two more Airbus KC-30s for RAAF

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is to welcome two more KC-30A (Airbus A330 MRTT) multi-role tanker aircaft in 2018, the government in Canberra announced on 1 July. The aircraft join five KC-30s already in service. The contract is worth 318 million USD, and involves two former Qantas A330s converted to KC-30s. The conversion work will be done in Spain.

The Aussie KC-30A tankers refuel RAAF F/A-18A/B Hornets, F/A-18F Super Hornets, E-7A Wedgetail and C-17A Globemasters, plus EA-18G Growler, P-8A Poseidon and the F-35A in the future as well. They are also capable of refueling other KC-30s.

According to defense sources Down Under, the type plays an important role in the Middle East region as part of the Australian contribution to the fight against IS. In theater, the KC-30s delivered more than 10,800 tonnes of fuel since September 2014, with a range of coalition fighter aircraft at the receiving end

The additional two aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Amberley, next to the five aircraft already in use.

The order is the second for Airbus tanker aircraft  in just two days time. On Monday 30 June, South Korea announced it is buying four Airbus A330 MRTTs.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A KC-30 in flight. (Image © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence)