MRTT Completes Automatic Refuelling System

SHAH ALAM: MRTT completes automatic refuelling system. The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft has completed its automatic refuelling system (A3R) development phase after a successful flight trial campaign, said Airbus in a release. The campaign was the result of came about after Airbus and Singapore agreed in February 2020 to collaborate on the A330 SMART MRTT programme, to develop, certify and implement A3R capability, as well as enhanced maintenance solutions for the aircraft.

The trial was conducted, in collaboration with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency, taking place in Singapore in early 2021. It marked the inaugural participation of an A3R-equipped RSAF A330 MRTT acting as tanker and several receivers from the RSAF, including another A330 MRTT and fighter aircraft like the F-16 and F-15SG.

RSAF Airbus A330 MRTT refueling an F-16D for the A3R. RSAF

During the trial, a total of 88 fully automated dry and wet contacts and transfers of nearly 30 tonnes of fuel were successfully executed, including the first fully automated operations with another A330 MRTT and RSAF F-16D/F-16D+ receivers.

All tests required for A3R Data Gathering with the F-15SG, including operational flights to demonstrate the A3R performances in a mission representative scenario were also completed. The trials, performed with the RSAF and Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), took place in Singapore in early 2021. It marked participation of an A3R-equipped RSAF A330 MRTT acting as tanker and several receivers from the RSAF, including another A330 MRTT and fighter aircraft like the F-16 and F-15SG.

A RSAF A330 MRTT tanking another MRTT on A3R. RSAF

Luis Miguel Hernández, Airbus SMART MRTT Manager, said: ‘We had the opportunity to test our system with different receiver types ensuring the right fit of our systems, while gathering extensive data key to completing the A3R development. The team were able to test the limits of the system successfully, verifying its robustness and ability to automatically track receivers with varying configurations’.
RSAF F-15SG in the 50th anniversary colours performing on Feb. 7, 2018. Another Strike Eagle painted in the same colours was in the static display

Key to the mission success was the excellent cooperation with the RSAF and DSTA. ‘We have built an extraordinary relationship based on mutual trust. Teams from all sides worked as a single unit during the test campaign and it is always a pleasure to fly with such a professional crew. They are the first partner nation involved in the development of the SMART MRTT, and we are honoured to have them on board’, added Hernandez.

— Malaysian Defence

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