Aerial Refueling Pods For A400M

A close up of two F/A-18s from the Spanish Air Force being refuelled by an A400M. Airbus.

SHAH ALAM: RMAF has taken delivery of the first set of aerial refueling pods for its A400M. The pods manufactured by Cobham from UK consists of the 908E Wing Dispense Equipment (WDE) and 808E Hose Drum Unit (HDU). The delivery of the first set was announced by Cobham on its Twitter feed.

The announcement:

The #RMAF has recently received its first set of @AirbusA400M wing-mounted aerial refueling pods (WARPs) supplied by @Cobham_plc

A close up of two F/A-18s from the Spanish Air Force being refuelled by an A400M. Airbus.

RMAF is getting two sets of the refuelling pods for its four A400M, all of which are wired for air to air refuelling. It is likely that the RMAF has only two sets of the air to air refuelling pods for its four KC-130H Hercules aircraft. It is also likely that the Hercules refueling pods were also sourced from Cobham.
A400M refueling 8 Hornets of the Spanish Air Force. Airbus

RMAF also has an undisclosed number of Chobham 754 Buddy refueling pod currently in use by 11 Squadron, the Flanker unit.
A RMAF Flanker conducting a buddy refueling. Cobham

The A400M crews at the Singapore Airshow confirmed the delivery and readily shared that their squadron were already conducting training flights with RMAF fast jet fleet. This may well include the F/A-18Ds, Su-30MKMs and the Hawk 108/208 as well.
The schematics of the Cobham pod for the A400M. Cobham.

Although not officially confirmed, the A400M will be conducting air to air refuelling qualifications with other fast jets when they take part in Exercise Pitch Black later this August.
A schematic of the HDU unit. Cobham

Apart from the A400M, Malaysia unofficialy will also be sending at least four Hornets from the 18 Squadron for the exercise. The last time the Hornets went there was in 2008.

Meanwhile, Reuters on Feb. 13 wrote that the A400M may never get some of the features it was supposed to have. The report however did not state what features that will be axed.

SINGAPORE/BERLIN (Reuters) – Europe’s new troop transporter may never go into battle with all the promised military capabilities after buyers of the A400M agreed to let Airbus (AIR.PA) negotiate an opt-out for features deemed too difficult to build.
A document signed last week between Airbus and seven NATO nations, and seen by Reuters, allows the planemaker to negotiate deals with the individual buyers so that some of the complex add-on features can be removed from the official specifications.
The new “declaration of intent” appears to mark the first time the buyers have recognized that not all the features designed to outdo competing U.S. aircraft will be available.

The full story here.

A400M M54-04 landing at Labuan airport on Nov. 17, 2017.

It must be noted that during a briefing at the Singapore Airshow, Fernando Alonso, the head of the Military Division of Airbus Defence and Space stated that they were on their way to complete all of the specifications including helicopter air to air refueling and mass drop of paratroopers.

By the way for those celebrating, Happy Chinese New Year!
— Malaysian Defence


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About Marhalim Abas 2141 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Off topic.

    Singapore celebrated its Total Defence Day on the date of Malay Regiment’s greatest battle, the defence of Pasir Panjang Singapore led by Leftenan Adnan Saidi.

    It is a message to the people of singapore that a strong defence is the key to independent and peaceful singapore as a nation, something that malaysian’s should always realise. You cannot have merdeka and peace without a strong defence force.

    No, they remembered Feb 15 as the day Singapore fell, the day the British surrendered to the Japanese. This was due to the loss of the defence of Pasir Panjang a day earlier.

  2. They’ve been making that message for decades. Not too long ago the PM spoke of the situation in Ukraine and how smaller countries had to be prepared. He also said that it’s no coincidence that Singapore has good relations with its neighbours but due to a strong SAF. Many years ago Lee Kuan Yew mentioned how ”they” [the neighbours] would push us around were it not for a strong SAF.

  3. Salam en marhalim,

    May i know the purpose of having the air refuelling pod for a400 since our c130 have the same capability.

    Secondly, may i know the type of aircraft in our inventory which is able to utilise it.

    Thank you.

    Its one of the capabilities of the A400M, air to air refueling. Since it is already capable of doing so there is no reason for RMAF not to use it. All of the fast jets in the inventory, Hornet, Flanker and the Hawks are capable of being refueled in the air. The EC725 is fitted for but not equipped for air to air refueling. If its fitted with the refueling probe it can be refueled by the Hercules though not the A400M at the moment. Airbus is finishing trials with a new AAR pod specifically for helicopters.

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